Dental implants have slowly become a treatment staple in dentistry and in patient’s lives for over 60 years. In the earliest days of dentistry, patients with lost teeth had limited options that came with drawbacks. Dental implants have given dentists the ability to restore a patient’s smile to a more natural looking and comfortable feeling smile. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or your full dentition with excellent long term success and stability.
Dental Implants Explained
Dental implants are a man made tooth root ( made of titanium) replacement that a periodontist, oral surgeon, or implant dentist places into your jaw to support future restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to create a long lasting natural smile. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, support multiple teeth as a fixed implant bridge, or support a denture (making it more comfortable for the wearer and extremely secure).
Dental implants are the ideal solution for people in overall good oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, fracture or tooth decay. Implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not come with the need to cut down healthy teeth or rely on adjacent teeth for support like a traditional fixed dental bridge does. The best long term prognosis occurs when sufficient bone, and good overall health are present.
This will allow for ideal oseointegration, (the way bone fills in around the implant for strength). Dental implants once fully healed and integrated will be intimately connected with the surrounding bone and periodontal tissues in the mouth. So, proper fit, good occlusion (the way our teeth fit together), and excellent oral hygiene are essential for long term success. With advancements in technique and dental materials, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone when an area is lacking.
Periodontal disease, diabetes, bleeding problems, etc. can cause difficulty in placement, healing and longevity of the dental implants. Be upfront with your dentist regarding any health issues so that the proper diagnostic and treatment steps can be taken in advance to give you the highest rate of success. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who are smokers/tobacco users. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has ceased smoking/tobacco use.
Top Reasons For Dental Implants
–Cosmetics/Esthetics. Implant restorations, (crowns and bridges) are matched to your existing teeth in color, shape, and size. The only two people in the world who should be able to tell you have dental implants should be you and your dentist. If done properly, they will look like a natural part of your smile.
–Stability. Traditionally, many patients opted for removable dentures when missing multiple teeth. This led to compromises in esthetics and function. Implants can replace individual teeth but can also be used as support for a removable denture. This makes them as stable as your own natural teeth.
–Maintain Dental Health. Dental implants help to maintain bone levels of the jaws. This will allow your face to maintain its natural structure as long as possible.
–No Worries. Implants are stable so you won’t have to worry about them falling out, rocking, or not feeling stable enough to eat what you want. Although dental implants can have complications, they are few and far between. You will never need a root canal on a dental implant nor will you ever get tooth decay.
–Longevity. Dental implants have an over 98% success rate and should (with proper care) last a lifetime.
–Financial Cost. Initially, many think that a single implant or multiple implants are way too costly. Think about these facts, replacing 1 tooth with an implant is only slightly more expensive than a fixed dental bridge. Dental ridges generally last 10-20 years if you are extremely diligent with your oral hygiene regimen. The implant will not decay, and usually will last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. In the long run, it is less expensive and does not unnecessarily cause further damage adjacent teeth.
Dental Implants Conclusion
Dental implants should always be considered as an option when a missing tooth or teeth are involved. Your dentist should always give you as the patient the education to make the decision that is best for you. There are great ways to have the smile you want, an implant may be the perfect way to give you back what you may have lost. An informed, educated patient will make the best choice for his/her dental care. Remember to always maintain regular dental visits for periodic dental examinations and professional cleanings.