Tooth loss continues to be a common problem among Americans, often due to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and injury. Previously, dentures and bridges were the only treatment options for missing teeth. However, dental implants offer a versatile, aesthetically pleasing way to replace missing teeth, restoring function and providing an improved appearance to your smile.
What are Implants?
Dental implants are actually replacement tooth roots, which offer a strong foundation for new removable or permanent teeth. These new teeth are made to match the natural teeth you already have perfectly, for a smile that looks natural. Just like your natural tooth roots, implants are secured to your jawbone, and once they’re surgically placed, they aren’t visible. Since they are made from titanium, the body doesn’t reject them and they are strong and lightweight.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer patients a number of benefits, including:
- Comfort and Convenience – Since dental implants actually become a part of your mouth, you don’t deal with the discomfort that can come with removable dentures. They are comfortable, and they’re convenient. You don’t have to worry about the embarrassment of removing dentures or worrying about applying messy adhesives to keep them from moving.
- Improved Smile Appearance – Dental implants feel and look like your natural teeth, and they become permanent because they fuse with your bone. This means they won’t look any different than your natural teeth, giving you the beautiful smile you want.
- Better Speech – Sometimes tooth loss or poorly fitting dentures may result in speech problems. Dental implants replace missing teeth to improve speech, and you don’t have to worry about slipping dentures that may impede your speech.
- Boosts Self-Esteem – Tooth loss can make you feel self-conscious about your smile, but replacing those teeth with dentures improves your smile, boosting self-esteem.
- Easier Eating – Without all your teeth, eating can be difficult, and partials and dentures can still make chewing difficult. Since dental implants actually function like the rest of your natural teeth, eating is easy and won’t cause any pain.
- Better Overall Oral Health – Dental implants are one of the best options for preserving and improving your overall oral health. Surrounding teeth don’t need to be altered for you to have implants, so your teeth are left intact, which helps improve your oral health in the future. Implants are individual structures as well, which makes it easy to brush and floss between teeth, improving your oral hygiene and reducing the risk for future oral problems.
- Excellent Durability – Implants are a long-term investment, and since they’re so durable, they often last a lifetime if you take proper care of your teeth.
Are Dental Implants Successful?
Although the success rates of implants can vary, in most cases, they have a very high success rate. However, those success rates can vary depending on the area of the jaw where the implant is placed. Most of the time implants can last for life if they are properly care for.
Who Should Consider Implants?
If you’ve experienced tooth loss, you may be a good candidate for dental implants, although it’s important for patients to be in good health. Patients who smoke, abuse alcohol, or those who have conditions like uncontrolled gum disease, cancer, or uncontrolled diabetes may not be good candidates for implants. These issues can interfere with implants fusing to the bone, so it’s essential to talk to your dentist about your medical history, both past and present, if you’re considering dental implants.
The first step in this process is to work with your dentist to come up with an individualized plan of treatment that addresses your unique dental needs. Next, the root implant, a small titanium post, will be place into the bone socket where you have a missing tooth. When the jawbone heals, it will grow around the implant, ensuring it’s securely anchored to your jawbone. This time of healing takes 6-12 weeks.
After the implant is fully anchored to your jawbone, a connector post, known as an abutment, will be attached to the root post to hold your new tooth. A new tooth will be made based on your bite and impressions of your teeth, and then the replacement tooth, or crown, will be attached to securely to the abutment. The color of your tooth replacement will be matched to your current teeth, ensuring the implant looks, functions, and feels just like a natural tooth.
If you’re dealing with tooth loss and wondering if implants are the right choice for you, schedule a consultation with Bonham Dental Arts today!