Most people will lose teeth for one reason or another at some point during their lives. It should be noted that for a long time, dentures have been the workable solutions in an attempt to correct the situation. However, with recent technological advancements, there are now more viable options which are commonly used to replace missing teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are permanent tooth/teeth replacements which are entirely fused into your jaw, and they perform just like your natural teeth. To get dental implants, all you need to do is to undergo a series of appointments to have them installed and then take proper care of your teeth to keep the implants healthy and prevent further damage to your natural teeth.
However, before deciding to use dental implants, there are a few things you need know about them. They include:
It’s a process.
It should be noted that “installation” of dental implants may take time, and therefore you should be prepared to go through the entire process. For a start, you may be expected to undergo two successive oral surgeries which may be spread between three to six months apart. The first operation is meant to implant metal anchors onto your jaws. The second surgery is used to attach the final healing collar while at the same time providing a level base for permanent dentures.
It is only after successful operations that a dentist can put the dental prostheses around the implant. During the operation process, care must be taken to ensure that everything goes smoothly and heals properly. For example, you may be expected to wear temporary dentures and only consume soft foods. The entire process of dental implant installation takes between six and eight months to be complete.
If conducted early enough, your dental surgeon can save the surrounding teeth together with the jaw structure.
Naturally, when you have a missing tooth, that area does not have any form of stimulation. This lack of stimulation often causes a condition which leads to bone loss. Even with the use of dentures and bridges, the situation isn’t reversed because there will still be no stimulation. However, with an implant, the resultant stimulation is significant, and no bone loss occurs. Also, when bridges are used, they risk damaging the surrounding teeth. With dental implants, your teeth and jaws are protected from any form of harm.
They could be costly initially, but they’re affordable in the long run.
Unlike dentures, implants may cost more up front — to the tune of thousands of dollars. Depending on your medical providers or insurance cover, there could be an option to pay in installments.
Dental implants do not need any form of upkeep or replacement beyond standard oral hygiene. Therefore, you can save money in the long run by not having to replace dentures or bridges.
Not everyone can get dental implants.
It must be noted that even if you have a missing tooth, you do not automatically qualify for dental implants. For you to be eligible, your jaw must have sufficient bone support for the implant to be installed. Also, dental implant procedures cannot be conducted if you are critically ill. Many risk factors may affect your eligibility for the procedure.
For heavy smokers, lifestyle changes must be made before the procedure can be completed in order to reduce the chances of losing the roots of the teeth. Most adults who are not heavy smokers and are relatively healthy qualify for the procedure. If your bone height is not currently sufficient, it can be built up in readiness for the dental implant procedure.
They can last for a lifetime if you take good care of them.
For safety and efficiency, dental implants must be treated in the same way as the regular teeth if they are to last. If you suffer from gum diseases and plaque which has built up, it may have an effect on both your natural teeth and the dental implants. As a consequence, you may lose both types of teeth (natural and implants). Even after the implant, you must continue brushing and flossing your teeth and your regular visits to the dentist should not be interrupted.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer an array of benefits which include:
- Improved appearance – they are designed to look just like our natural teeth. Since the implants are meant to fuse with the bone, they are permanent.
- Improved speech – in some instances missing teeth or loose dentures may make you speak with difficulty and end up mumbling words. But with dental implants, you will speak comfortably without fear.
- Improved comfort – since they become part of you, they eliminate any discomfort that may be felt.
- Eating made easier – if have sliding dentures, chewing food becomes uncomfortable. However, with dental implants which are just like your natural teeth, you will consume all kinds of foods without challenges.
- Self-esteem is improved – with dental implants expertly installed, you’ll have a great smile, and you can feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health – unlike bridges which may require grinding your teeth down, dental implants do not depend on adjacent teeth for support. All your teeth are left intact, thus improving your oral health and reducing your risk of complications.
- Durability – they are durable and could last many years. If you take good care of them, they can last a lifetime.
- They are convenient – with dental implants, the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures is eliminated. There are also no adhesives required to keep the teeth together.
If you’re considering using dental implants to replace your missing teeth, keep in mind that they have many advantages as indicated above. However, before you make that big decision, you may need to consult with several medical professionals to determine your eligibility. Talk to dentists and other medical practitioners to ascertain your status before taking the plunge.