What exactly are dental implants, you may ask? If you are missing one or more teeth or wear partial or full dentures, dental implants can be the perfect solution. An implant is a titanium screw that is placed in your jaw, where it functions like a tooth root and stimulates the bone and tissue to keep them from disintegrating. An abutment is fastened to the implanted screw and an artificial tooth is attached to the abutment that protrudes from the gum. Once the artificial tooth is placed on the abutment, it looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth.
Dental implants can also be used to secure partial or full dentures; and instead of attaching an artificial tooth to the abutment, the dental plate or partial is fitted with an O-ring that snaps on to the abutment. For a partial denture, as few as one implant may be needed; and for full dentures, it will take four or more implants to securely hold the prosthesis in place. Implant-supported partials or dentures function just like normal teeth, allowing you to bite and chew just as you did with your permanent teeth; but the dentures can still be removed for cleaning.
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