Getting To The Root Of Dental Implants

artist's rendering of a mouth X-ray, showing teeth and an implantIt goes way beyond esthetics

On the surface, we know that dental implants are popular. We may have heard about them from a friend or family member’s positive experience, and when we’re faced with tooth loss, wonder if they may be right for us. Or perhaps we’ve seen the ads. From digital billboards to glossy magazine pages, the bright faces of models in photographs assure us that we, too, can have a picture-perfect smile.

While dental implants can indeed improve appearance, there’s much more to this technology, a part of the dental landscape for decades.

“There’s a common misconception that implants are always about esthetics, and maybe it comes from the branding of practices or how they advertise with ‘implant and cosmetic dentistry,’” suggests Dr. Sarah Allen ’10, ’14, clinical assistant professor in restorative sciences and co-director of Clinical Removable Prosthodontics.

“Most people think that once an implant is in place, it should look perfectly normal like their original tooth, and this is not always the case,” Allen continues. “If you have a single tooth that needs replacement, the best it’s ever going to look is when it’s in its natural form. The support structures and the shape of the root is best with a natural tooth.”

When keeping natural teeth is not an option, dental implants are a very viable alternative. With improvements to each new generation of dental implants, the technology continues to evolve, making it the standard of care in many cases, and for reasons having nothing to do with appearance.

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