Did you know that despite all the innovations and improvements made within the dental industry, several Americans still have to contend with teeth loss from decay, gum disease, or injuries suffered. While the options had been bridges and dentures for the longest time, today there’s a new teeth replacement option available in the form of dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Each tooth has a root that keeps the tooth in place. Implants are the replacements for these roots to give replacement teeth a strong foundation to keep them in place.
There are several in fact, including:
- Improved appearance – Since implant look and feel like your natural teeth, you’ll find they are great at improving your overall appearance as they are fused to your bone, making them permanent structures.
- Improve speech – These take the worry away from teeth slippage that you could get from dentures that can lead to mumbling and slurring of your words.
- Improved comfort – Since they are fused to your bones, you don’t have to worry about discomfort as you would with dentures or bridges.
- Eating is easier – Since they become a part of you, you don’t have to worry about chewing your food with dentures that slip, which makes it easier for you to eat the foods you enjoy without worrying about your esteem or pain, or eating soft foods all the time.
- Improved confidence – You’ll find yourself smiling all the time with your implants, which will make you feel better about yourself.
- Improved dental health – Since you aren’t reducing your teeth to fit these implants, you are sacrificing your neighboring teeth to create support like you would for bridges. This leaves your teeth more intact with the added bonus of getting between your teeth for flossing and brushing. All of this improves your overall hygiene.
- Durability –With proper care and oral health, you can find your implants lasting several years to the rest of your life.
- Convenience – With their fusion in your mouth, you don’t have to worry about removing them because there isn’t anything to remove or need an adhesive to mount back in place as you do with dentures.
Are They Successful?
In general, dental implants surgery success rates upwards of 98%, though this percentage will vary because of where they are placed along the jaw. However, if you can take care of your implants, you can keep them the entire length of your life.
Are They for Everyone?
If you’re healthy enough for dental extractions or surgery, then you’re usually a candidate for implants. You are required to have healthy gums and the right amount of bone so the implants can take hold. You will also need to keep up good hygiene habits for your teeth and see your dentist regularly. Those who smoke, have diabetes or heart disease, or have had radiation therapy for the head or neck region should be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine proper candidacy. If you think implants could work for you, then you’ll want to speak with your dentist at your next visit to see what he/she recommends.
Are Implants Covered by Insurance?
You may find that your insurance doesn’t cover dental implant costs, which is the case most often, but you could check your regular health insurance to see if it isn’t covered based on the reason for your tooth loss. When you’re in doubt, it’s best to contact your insurance company and ask them all the questions you need answered about dental implants before you do further with them. You should also check for free dental implants in your area. Usually dentures are cheaper than tooth implants.
What Steps Are There for Implants?
- Step 1. You and your dentist will develop the right treatment plan based on your individual needs. It will address those needs with preparations made by a group of professionals that have been trained and are experienced in oral surgery and restorative measures in dentistry. Based on the option chosen for you, your team will provide the best coordinated care possible.
- Step 2. Made of titanium, a small post is placed into your missing tooth’s bone socket, also known as the root implant. Once this is done, your jawbone will need time to heal (6-12 weeks on average) while it anchors the post securely by growing the bone around the metal post. Sometimes, bone grafting is required.
- Step 3. Once your metal post and jawbone have settled, your team will add an abutment, or small connector post, to that metal post so your new tooth has a place to sit. For the new tooth/teeth, your dentist will take this time to make impressions of your teeth and build a model of your bite. Your bite will determine your new tooth/teeth. Then, a crown will be attached to the abutment, completing the process.
If you don’t like the individual crown route, you can have different attachments placed on your implant so you can insert a removable denture that’s still supported and retained by your implant.
Your new teeth will also be matched to your natural ones by your dentist. With the insertion of your implant to your jawbone, you’ll find that your new teeth will look, feel, and work just like your real teeth.
Is There Pain with Dental Implants?
Most will say there isn’t much pain associated with implants. You can ask for local numbing treatments during the procedure, but most say that the pain isn’t anything compared to having a tooth extracted. You can expect some mild soreness after the implant is placed, but Tylenol or Motrin should relieve it just fine.
Proper Care for Implants
Treat them as you would natural teeth with regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.