If one or more of your teeth are missing or damaged, you may want to look into dental implants. Great advances have been made in implant technology; it’s never been easier or more cost effective for patients to get dental implants. Due to the nature and design of the implants, they look and feel like natural teeth. Only a dentist may distinguish the difference between the implants and your other teeth.
There are several benefits to dental implants:
Dental Implants are titanium posts that replace natural tooth roots and support prosthetic teeth (crowns, bridges). The implants are placed in the bone under your gums. During a healing period, the bone grows around the implant. Then, a replacement tooth (crown) is made and attached to the metal post, giving you a restoration that is very much like your natural tooth. Implants can also be used to secure bridges and dentures when more than one tooth is missing.
Dental implants may improve overall appearance, replace dentures and make chewing easier. The amount of dental work that needs to be done will determine how long the dental implant procedure will take and how many visits to the dentist will be required.
For decades the dental profession has advocated the preservation of natural teeth and natural tooth structure. This concept is certainly upheld when using dental implants for tooth replacement. The need for removal of healthy tooth structure (enamel) has been eliminated by dental implant treatment.
Several studies on crowns and bridges on teeth found an average 9-10 year life expectancy, whereas dental implants may last for decades. Until about 1985 our choices for tooth replacement were very limited. Since implants have become the “standard of care” for tooth replacement, our choices have improved dramatically.
A dental implant does require surgery–which yes, includes anesthesia–to prepare the gum region for the implant and place it correctly. It does take some time for the implant to properly anchor and for the bone to build up around the implant, tightly securing it. In some instances, metal posts will have to be inserted into the implant during a follow-up visit to connect a tooth to it. Antibiotics are often prescribed at the time of the surgery to ward off any potential infections.
Are you a candidate for dental implants?
Before you talk to your dentist about receiving a dental implant, there are a few considerations… Patients must have both a healthy bone density and a strong immune system. Otherwise, the dental implants will not successfully take root in your mouth. In addition, the procedure is usually not covered by insurance.
While strict oral hygiene is important for anyone, those with dental implants need to be even more diligent than the average person. Since dental implants are not living tissue, they will not last a lifetime, but it’s possible to increase their longevity with proper dental care.
Call our office today to schedule a consultation and answer any questions you may have about dental implants.