How Do Dental Implants Work?

The secret to the success of this increasingly popular tooth replacement method.

For many years, dentures had the monopoly when it came to replacing missing teeth. This was all well and good, certainly when you consider that dentures were improving all the time and today, modern versions still offer a realistic way to replace missing teeth.

Quite some years back now, the use of a bridge became an alternative option to dentures but, despite improvements, neither of these solutions were perfect. Dentures were not always as stable as wearers wished and fitting a bridge required that the remaining teeth either side of the gap, had to be shaped so that the bridge could be fitted.

Enter dental implants

Dental implants were first used in the 1960s in just a few cases, but progressively became more and more popular as the story of their success became more widely known. Even today though, many people probably still do not know how dental implants actually work. So in today’s Calverley Dental Practice blog, your Tunbridge Wells dentists explain how implants offer the most secure and stable option for replacing missing teeth.

Titanium implants and osseointegration

If you know anything about dental implants, you will be aware that they are placed into the jawbone and are used to support a dental crown. What fewer people are probably aware of, is how this placement provides such a strong foundation.

The ‘secret’ is the combination of titanium, which the implants are made of, and the bone. Very few materials fuse together as successfully as these two do and it is this bond which provides the solid foundation for the replacement tooth. Surprisingly, this fact was discovered purely by accident as a side result of another medical experiment. Titanium rods were placed into the bone of a rabbit and, on completion of the experiment, the scientists tried to retrieve the titanium rods, due to their expense, and discovered that they had become firmly bonded to the bone. Further tests were run and it was confirmed that this is a natural occurrence and one that offered a great deal of medical benefits.

Although this process, known as osseointegration does not happen overnight, and can take around three months for the process to complete, it does provide an extremely strong and long lasting replacement tooth root, upon which a crown is attached.

Preserving the bone

In addition to the strength and longevity offered by this method; placing a titanium implant in the jawbone also helps to preserve the bone structure. As neither a denture or a bridge provide a replacement ‘root’, the jaw bone in that area will thin and reduce in mass. This can cause changes in the shape of the face over time; one reason why some dentures do not fit as well as might be expected.

Because the body ‘sees’ the titanium implant as a tooth root, it will retain its integrity and therefore help to retain the shape of the face too.

If you would like to find out more about the dental implant procedure, our dentists are always happy to help. An initial consultation can be booked by calling our Tunbridge Wells surgery on 01892 543898.