When you have missing teeth, whether they were extracted due to decay or lost during an accident, there are numerous options for replacement. Bridges and dentures have been solutions for a long time, but implants are a more modern alternative that provides unparalleled results. What are dental implants exactly, and what benefits do they offer?
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are one way that you can replace missing teeth in your mouth. Instead of using an external appliance that can be removed, like dentures, dental implants are anchored directly into the jaw. The base of most implants is made of durable titanium, which is implanted in the jaw to replace the roots of your teeth. An abutment, or connection between the bottom and top, will also be installed.
To complete the process and make the tooth look as realistic as possible, your specialist will install a crown. This crown is custom-matched to your surrounding teeth to be a perfect match that is virtually undetectable.
Why Are Dental Implants Used?
There are many different reasons why dental implants are used, and the most common is missing teeth. Unlike dentures that need to be removed or bridges that can limit the usability of your new teeth, dental implants offer a more comfortable and realistic experience. Dental implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth or more than one missing tooth.
Additionally, dental implants can be used for people who are unable to wear dentures. If you are not sure whether or not dental implants are a good fit for you, contact your dentist to learn more.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants remain such a popular solution for missing teeth because the benefits dramatically outweigh the risks, and they are able to dramatically improve the quality of life for those who receive them. Some of the biggest benefits of dental implants include:
A better smile that looks natural and realistic
No impact on diet or how comfortable it is to chew, unlike dentures
Preserved jawbone and improved stability of surrounding teeth and the teeth above or below the impacted area
Natural speech that is free from the lisping or slurring effect that can happen with dentures
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Dental Implant?
The best candidates for dental implants are in good overall physical and dental health. If you are in poor health, that does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to receive an implant. However, it might mean that there are unique considerations for your situation to improve the chances of the implant succeeding. Some of the signs that you are a good candidate for a dental implant include:
You have healthy gums and do not have active untreated periodontal disease
You have enough bone in your jaw to support the implant
You are able to maintain good oral health and are receiving dental care
You do not use tobacco
You do not have any issues with teeth grinding
Provided that you are a good candidate and your dentist is able to complete the surgery successfully, the success rate for dental implants can be up to 98%. As long as you are willing to properly care for your implant, it can last the rest of your life.
What Happens During the Dental Implant Process?
Unlike some other types of oral surgery that can be completed in a single visit, dental implants involve a number of phases in most cases. First, your dentist will meet with you to determine if you are a good candidate and develop a treatment plan that meets your needs. Once this plan has been approved, you will be able to have the implant placed in your jaw. This implant will be put into the bone of your jaw. Next, your jawbone will be given time to heal around the implant.
Once the implant has healed, an abutment will be added to the base. This is what the crown will be placed on. Your dentist will take a mold of your teeth to help create a crown that looks as attractive and realistic as possible. While the crown will not be exactly the same as the teeth that are already in your mouth (it will be made of a different material), it will function in almost the exact same way.
After the crown has been received, your dentist will install it in your mouth and perform several fit checks. Once the right fit has been achieved, you will be free to live your life with a confident and functional smile.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
Having a dental implant placed is a surgical procedure, so there can be discomfort involved. In most cases, you will be numbed throughout the procedure and not feel anything but pressure. In rare cases, you may need a prescription for pain relievers to assist with the swelling going down after the procedure. Your dentist will speak with you about any specific concerns that you have.