Once teeth have become so decayed that they can no longer be retained in the mouth or if they have already fallen out, decisions must be made rapidly regarding which type of dental prosthesis is right for a particular patient. What type of treatment should be chosen; a bridge, a partial denture or an implant-borne prosthesis?
- Implants are artificial tooth roots. Rather than serving simply as a mount for dental prostheses, they replace the root in the most complete way possible: carrying out its functions, growing into the jaw and supporting the masticatory apparatus.
Implants also bring a crucial advantage on account of their firm anchoring in the jaw. Bone resorption, which normally occurs following the loss of a tooth, is minimised or even halted completely. This is because the artificial root places the same load on the jaw as the natural root before it, ensuring that normal levels of pressure are exerted when the patient chews. The jaw “understands” that bone is still needed in this spot, and resorption is discouraged.
If only a few individual teeth are affected, treatment with implants is also gentler and less invasive for the patient, since the remaining teeth do not need to be ground down. If implants were not used, the dentist would have to resort to a conventional bridge, which requires the healthy substance of neighbouring teeth to be considerably reduced. In contrast, with implants, just a single crown is required to sit on the artificial root and replace the missing tooth.
Good dentures should fit into the existing dentition so well that they are indistinguishable from natural teeth – and implants offer a great basis for this. The implant neck on which the implant is placed should be scarcely visible. For the anterior teeth, implantologists are now able to use white, fully ceramic implants, so there is no risk of even the thinnest sliver of grey peeking through between the dental prosthesis and the gum.
Biting, chewing, speaking, it’s not only the teeth that ensure the proper functioning of the masticatory apparatus, but the jaw as well.
Biting, chewing and speaking can all become difficult when a full denture is used, especially if bone resorption has taken place and the denture, which is held in place solely by the suction effect, is not secured as firmly as it once was. This can cause the prosthesis to become a little jerky, which results in the patient no longer having a firm bite.
With implants, things are different. The dental prosthesis is firmly anchored in the jaw, allowing even foods such as apples or steaks to be eaten without problems.
The same goes for speaking. Articulating is difficult when the dental prosthesis slips away from the palate. With implants, there’s no risk of this happening, and the patient can continue to speak as clearly and articulately as they could before.
A further advantage of implants is that bone resorption is not a concern. When bridges (and other solutions) are used, an unsightly gap can sometimes form between the dental prosthesis and the gums, since the bones recede and the previously well-fitting prosthesis slips out of position. This is not the case with implants, since the dental prosthesis is directly fixed to the artificial tooth root and optimally adjusted with regard to its position.