Dental implants are one of the most successful tools to repair and renew smiles. The end results speak for themselves, leaving clients with full sets of beautiful teeth that match natural dentition and provide stronger, longer-lasting chewing surfaces. If you are struggling to make a choice, here are some important facts about dental implants that may help you decide.
As common as dental implants are, the staff at Ridgeview Dental understands that our patients will have many questions about such procedures. That’s why we’re ready to help you make an informed decision about your dental health. Our Centennial, CO dental office also services the Parker and Aurora areas as well. Call (303) 647-4145 today for a consultation about how dental implants can change your smile!
- The Function of Dental Implants
When a tooth is damaged beyond repair or falls out, a lot can happen inside your mouth. Teeth are always shifting throughout your life, moving this way and that thanks to changing jaw size, bone density and daily use. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Tooth loss from decay
- Alternative to root canal
- Accidental injury
- Improper fitting or inability to use dentures
- Loss of jawbone density
- Infection that reduces tooth integrity
With a missing or damaged tooth, surrounding dentition has a tendency to fill that gap. This can change the entire alignment of your teeth, which may make talking difficult and chewing painful. The best response is to fill those gaps with replacement teeth. Just sliding a fake into the right spot isn’t going to do it. The fake tooth, also called a cap or dental crown, needs a root to anchor it inside your jaw. That’s where dental implant surgery comes in.
A metal root is inserted into the jaw bone below the gum line. This gives the crown a strong foothold that will last a long time. Later the replacement tooth is fitted into place, rejuvenating your smile. These implants are stronger than natural teeth and are constructed of a variety of different materials, most which are shaded to match the rest of your mouth.
- Advantages of Implants
Dentists know that there are a host of benefits to dental implants. Because the success rate is so high and results are almost always positive, patients have a lot to look forward to post-surgery. Here are six reasons why clients choose the procedure.
- Permanent Solution: Getting dental implants is a life-long fix to missing or decaying teeth. Because they are made from stronger materials, the crowns can maintain their integrity for a long time. The titanium implants also bond to bone exceedingly well, too.
- Jawbone Growth: When a tooth has been missing for a while, the bone beneath begins to recede without the constant encouragement to grow provided by chewing pressure. The implant procedure may use bone grafts that will restore those sections of bone, and the implant itself will reintroduce the impetus to grow again.
- No Dietary Restrictions: The great bond implants have with your existing dentition means they are set in place securely. Unlike dentures, which may need to be removed for eating or other reasons, implants won’t affect your diet.
- Easy to Maintain: False teeth need to be removed and cleaned daily, a prospect that many patients are loath to deal with. Implants can be cared for just like natural teeth, and with proper bushing, flossing and dental visits they’ll stay that way.
- Natural Look: Perhaps one of the most important facts about dental implants is how natural they can look. By shading and tinting the specially made crowns, each replacement will have the same look and texture as the ones you’ve kept with your whole life.
- Self-Confidence Returns: Most patients are quick to relate how having natural-looking teeth has changed how they live. If you’ve been embarrassed by poor dentition and missing teeth, dental implants can be a huge confidence boost, making you look younger and healthier, and most importantly feel more alive.
There are a few factors that can influence your candidacy for dental implants, including smoking, age and jaw bone density. Make sure you discuss these issues with your dentists and see if implants will help your current situation.
- Dental DisadvantagesUnfortunately, implants aren’t for everyone. For some patients, there are enough drawbacks to warrant avoiding the procedure altogether. Some of the most common disadvantages are associated with cost, especially since insurance companies tend to avoid compensation for these procedures. Typically this is because the procedure is considered “cosmetic,” though this outlook ignores the other boons such a treatment can provide.
This means that some patients can find implants too costly to be practical. In addition, the crown that replaces your natural tooth can become damaged over time, requiring replacement at an additional cost. With a mouthful of crowns, this can add up rather quickly. However, prices aren’t static and may vary greatly amongst the profession. Ridgeview Dental doesn’t want cost to get in the way of your smile, so consider our financing options when scheduling your consultation.
Other reasons for avoiding the procedure include bone loss. While initially the titanium construction of these implants stimulate growth, all people will lose jawbone density over time. This could lead to a repair years later. In addition, since the procedure is a surgery, many patients will choose other options just to avoid the hassle.
- Durability of Implants and Crowns
A lot has been said about how long implants will last. Their titanium construction means they are very durable and the body readily accepts implants in almost all cases (titanium allergies are exceedingly rare). While some bone loss is expected thanks to natural aging, your new implants have a great life expectancy.The same can’t be said for replacement crowns. Since they are directly exposed inside your mouth, crowns are susceptible to much more punishment. As such, they are constructed from a variety of materials that help to reduce the impact of wear, including:
- Precious metals
- Porcelain coated metal
Full metal crowns are the most durable since they are made of the strongest materials, but they can leave your smile looking unsightly since they cannot be tinted. Ceramic and porcelain options resemble the look and texture of natural teeth, and they can be color-matched to your own pearly whites.
These materials aren’t as resistant to wear like metal ones are, and dentists have found an excellent compromise in porcelain-coated options. These have the core strength of a metal crown with the great look and feel of ceramic and porcelain caps. While these can chip and may leave an unsightly grey edge at the gum line over time, they provide a great balance of durability and aesthetics.
- RecoveryA lot of patients are concerned about the recovery process and how long it will take to not only get the procedure but how long it will take before they can live naturally again. Usually the implant procedure occurs in several steps. The initial phase involves bone grafts and placing the implant itself. Then everything needs some time to heal, usually between three and six months.
This time is necessary to allow osseointegration to take place. As your jaw recovers, bone grows around the implant, strengthening its position and making it a viable seat for the replacement tooth. During this time, you’ll have a restricted diet so as not to agitate the affected area.
After some time has passed and bone has been allowed to regrow, a second surgery covers the implant with an abutment. This special connector allows temporary and permanent crowns to be attached directly to the implant. A short-term cover is then put in place, called a healing cap, designed to help your gums strengthen and prepare for the finalized crown. A few weeks later, the replacement tooth will be installed and after a brief recovery and adjustment period, you’ve got the smile you’ve always wanted!
- The Truth About DiscomfortDentists have been dealing with patients’ fear of pain for generations, and for good reason. Past practices did little to alleviate discomfort, and many adults have less than fond memories of childhood visits. This can put a sour taste in people’s mouths when considering implant surgery.
In truth, the actual procedure isn’t painful since local anesthesia numbs the affected area. Some clients may even elect twilight anesthetics, or even to be completely unconscious during the operation. Post surgery is also much less uncomfortable as well, with many patients suggesting it’s not much more painful than an extraction would be.
Your comfort and peace-of-mind is always our primary concern at Ridgeview Dental. Our team knows how much of a positive impact dental implants can make on your life. Contact us today at (303) 647-4145 to schedule a consultation with. We’re ready to help alleviate your fears about the procedure and help you discover how easy it is to have a smile that you can truly be proud of for the rest of your life!