DR. CRAIG GOLDIN: We are really fortunate to be living at a time where teeth can be replaced with dental implants. Dental implants are like a third set of teeth. Unfortunately, even with all the wonderful advances there are in dentistry, sometimes, a tooth is lost, and nowadays, we have a really wonderful option to replace teeth. Whether it's a single tooth in which a dental implant can be placed--it's similar to a root being placed back into the jawbone and a tooth put on top of that, so a third tooth, or whether somebody who's missing all their teeth and is wearing, perhaps, dentures or partial dentures, dental implants are a really miraculous thing, which to replace those missing teeth and give somebody back the quality of life that they so deserve.
The advantages of dental implants over conventional dentistry being fixed bridgework or removable bridgework or complete dentures are, first and foremost, a dental implant helps to maintain the existing jawbone. When a tooth is lost, substantial amount of bone melts away if there's no tooth or implant placed, so putting an implant in really helps to maintain the bone. Once the dental implant is placed, if it's a single tooth, a crown or single tooth can be built right on top of it, just like a third set of teeth. If somebody's missing all their teeth, several dental implants can be placed, and a removable bridge can be made to snap onto those dental implants, or if enough dental implants are placed, the patient can really have a whole fixed set of teeth just like their original teeth, really giving them the quality of life back that they've missed for many, many years, perhaps, that they've been wearing dentures.