Millions of Americans suffer tooth loss despite advancements in dentistry. Periodontitis, tooth decay, and injury are the most common causes of tooth loss. Traditional dentures and dental bridges were the only real treatment options available for many years in the past. However, today, we have a newer technology that is recommended for replacing missing teeth. So, what are dental implants?
Simply put, a dental implant is an artificial root for your missing tooth. They give you a permanent and stable foundation for a dental crown that will match your natural teeth. Dental implants are generally considered to have a high success rate. As high as 98% successful.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implant?
- Aesthetically pleasing. First of all, they improve your appearance. They look and function just like natural teeth.
- Easier to speak. Dentures often slip and move around in your mouth, even with the help of adhesives. That can make speaking more difficult and even embarrassing.
- Prevent Bone Loss. Bone loss is a real threat to people who are missing teeth. However, dental implants help prevent you from experiencing atrophy in your jawbone.
- Eat like normal. Chewing may be difficult with sliding dentures. Dental implants provide you with the same functional benefits as natural teeth. You can eat all of the same foods in the same way you would with your natural teeth.
- More self confidence. Those with implants report being more comfortable and having more confidence in themselves. It is virtually impossible for people to know you have dental implants in most settings.
- Easy to care for. Dental implants are easy to care for and better for your oral health. You just brush and floss like you would with your natural teeth.
- Long lasting. With a good oral health care routine, dental implants can last for the rest of your life.
- Permanent and durable. Dental implants are permanent, durable, and strong because they fuse with your jawbone. There’s no need to remove them like with dentures.
Who can get dental implants?
Most people who have lost or severely damaged teeth will be eligible for dental implant surgery. There are some requirements though. A patient needs to have healthy gums. Also, minor bone loss may require a bone graft, but if there is too much bone loss, you may not be able to get dental implants.
Some health conditions will preclude you from being eligible, such as diabetes, gum disease, heart disease, AIDS, and others. Tobacco use and other drugs or medicines may also prevent you from getting dental implants as well. Let your dentist know about all health issues and concerns.
What are the downsides to dental implants?
As a general rule, they are not covered by insurance. They could be, depending on the dental coverage you have and your insurance carrier. However, they are considered a cosmetic dental procedure.
Additionally, dental implants are fairly expensive as far as dental procedures go. However, few patients regret the increase in confidence and quality of life they afford. It’s an investment in yourself.
What does the dental implant procedure involve?
Your dentist will need to develop a treatment plan that is customized for you and your needs. The dentist will go over the treatment plan with you in detail and answer any questions you have about the procedure at that time.
The next step is to place the implant. A small post that is made out of titanium will be placed in the spot where your missing tooth once was. The process for healing can take several weeks or even months. The bone will heal and as it does, it will fuse with the dental implant giving you a secure anchor for placing the implant.
An small post known as an abutment is attached to the implant, and after an impression is taken, a new crown is created. The crown attaches to the abutment.
What if I need multiple dental implants?
Instead of traditional dentures or a bridge, the implant can act as an anchor point for them. For instance, implant supported dentures are often used to replace an entire arch of teeth. Four implants on one arch is usually the standard.
Are dental implants painful?
There is usually minimal pain and discomfort associated with dental implants. Local anesthetic is often used. Though, sedation is an option in some situations and with some dentists and dental surgeons.
Over the counter medicines are usually enough to deal with any pain. However, your dentist can write you a prescription if they think you need it.
Hopefully we answered the question, what are dental implants? Simply put, they are the best solution for replacing missing or irreparably damaged teeth.