What Are Dental Implants?


I’ve been a dentist for 17 years now, and have been providing implants for almost a decade.

One of the most common questions I am asked, often sheepishly, is “What is a dental implant?”

It seems strange that overnight, dental implants were created and became the new normal for those with missing teeth, but a lot of people still don’t know about them. So, I decided I would write a few paragraphs explaining what they are, how they help and if they’re worth the money!

What are they?
Dental implants (in easy terms) are metal posts, placed into the jaw bone, and hidden by the gums. Atop this post is a connector, and on top of this goes a porcelain crown, matched to the colour of your other teeth, so it looks just like a natural tooth.

In dentist terms, it’s a bit more complicated, but those are the basics!

How do they help?
A few patients of mine have asked me why implants are the ‘go to’ treatment for missing teeth, and to be honest, there isn’t really an answer that is used by every dentist around the country. For me, there are several reasons:

If left untreated, a missing tooth can be incredibly unattractive and can paint quite a bad picture of someone. Leaving a gap can also contribute toward the loss of chewing function – people having to chew on the opposite side of their mouths in order to stop food getting stuck in the gum – not a nice feeling! The worst, however; is bone loss. Leaving a missing tooth untreated can contribute toward accelerated bone loss, meaning that further tooth loss is inevitable.

Traditional Crown or Bridge:
A crown or bridge is a perfect way to stop an unsightly gap; however getting one means that you have to cut down healthy teeth, and bone loss can still happen under the bridge itself.

Implants help to bypass these problems by providing full chewing function and preventing bone loss, as well as an attractive, natural-looking replacement.

Are they worth the money?
So many of our patients tell us it was the best decision they’ve ever made. Can you put a price on confidence? Self-esteem? Being able to eat the food you want to? You decide!

Best wishes,

Dr Pieter Claassen

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