Whether it's a tooth that has been missing for awhile, one that needs to be pulled or another dental fixture, such as a crown, that needs to be replaced, patients can feel confused, overwhelmed or anxious about what might happen next.

Some patients think they just need to live with missing teeth or the pain associated with avoiding having a tooth pulled..

But dental implants not only provide an attractive way to fill the space, they protect against bone loss without damaging adjacent teeth or interfering with eating or speaking, according to the experts at Billings Oral Surgery. With proper care, they also last longer than other solutions, such as fixed bridges and dentures.

"They are made of medical-grade titanium, which fuses with the jaw bone during the healing period, creating the most stable restoration available and helping to ensure that the dental implant acts just like a natural tooth," according to Billings Oral Surgery's website. "Patients have no trouble biting into apples, eating chewy foods like caramel, or speaking and enunciating properly."

Other advantages of dental implants are:

1) Less bone loss. The dental implant screw fuses to the jaw bone beneath the gums, preventing that bone from deteriorating over time as often happens when there is an empty space in the mouth, according to Billings Oral Surgery's website.

2) No damage to nearby teeth. Other procedures involve grinding down nearby teeth or putting additional pressure on them, but none of that is necessary with dental implants.

3) Pleasing aesthetics. The crown of the dental implant is designed to match nearby teeth and perfectly fill the empty space, so it looks like the original, healthy tooth. Patients can smile without worrying others can tell they had dental work.

Watch what Jody had to say after her dental implant was placed at Billings Oral Surgery:

To learn more about dental implants or schedule a consultation at Billings Oral Surgery, call (406) 655-0170 or visit billingsoralsurgery.com.