A dental implant is an artificial tooth root placed into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. Over time, typically a couple of months, these artificial roots fuse with the bone so that they are ready to support the new tooth or teeth to be implanted.
Dental implants replace damaged roots for then hold new teeth. This process does not affect nearby teeth and, when fused to the jawbone, provides notable stability. No dental procedure replicates a natural tooth better than dental implants. A major factor in the success of dental implants is that they are made of titanium, which our bodies do not reject. Close to 98-percent of dental implants are successful with patients not suffering other than the commonly expected symptoms.
If you're interested in addressing your tooth loss and transforming your smile with dental implants, trust the dental implants experts at Ridgeview Dental. Our Centennial, CO dental office is equipped with all the latest technologies to provide patients with comfortable and efficient care. Call us today to schedule your consultation!
Per-Ingvar Brånemark, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, invented dental implants in 1952. At first, dental implants rested under the gum tissue and on top of the jawbone; these were known as subperiosteal implants but they are no longer used. Now, dental surgeons use the endosteal type of implants, which means the artificial root goes inserted into the jawbone.
Pros and cons of dental implants
Dental implants are considered the number one procedure for the replacement of missing teeth. Factors such as durability and success rate make it one of the most important medical achievements in dentistry. However, this procedure still carries some risks you might want to ponder before making a decision.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
The use of dental implants have many benefits including but not limited to aesthetics:
Eating with confidence
Tooth decay makes chewing uncomfortable because of the irregular surface of your teeth. Likewise, dentures slide sometimes, which also causes an issue when trying to chew food.
Dental implants, on the other hand, act like natural teeth and are greatly stable. Patients with dental implants eat without pain and more confidently.
Unlike bridges or dentures, dental implants last for many years. In some cases, especially when the patient takes good care, dental implants last permanently.
The artificial tooth roots fuse with bone just like an original root. Therefore, they feel and look just like natural teeth. Once the implant heals completely, an improved smile becomes permanent.
People with tooth decay tend to avoid smiling and overall feel uncomfortable with themselves. The excellent job of dental implants at replacing missing teeth gives patients their smile back and with it, improved self-esteem.
Unlike dentures, teeth do not slip while you speak when using dental implants. There is no even a chance of that from happening.
People with dental implants improve their confidence when speaking, as they do not worry anymore about mumbling because their teeth slip within the mouth.
Removable dentures are uncomfortable for most patients. However, implants become permanent in your mouth in a way that feels natural and comfortable.
Additionally, implants are more convenient than removable dentures. For some people, it is ashaming to remove dentures, and they also need adhesives to keep the denture in place.
Implants benefit your oral health in more than one way. Firstly, implants allow you to take better care of your teeth, as you can access them more easily between teeth. Second, dental surgeons do not need to reduce other teeth like with other procedures.
Finally, the implant does not affect nearby teeth. This improves long-term oral health because your own teeth remain intact.
What are the downsides of dental implants?
Dental implants have an astonishing success rate of 98 percent. Nevertheless, like with almost any other surgery, there are some risks to our health.
Your gums have a slight risk of infection after the procedure. Despite the artificial tooth root is placed into the jawbone, bacteria can still infect the implant and cause peri-implantitis. As a consequence, peri-implantitis can lead to the loss of an implant.
Also, the implants might extend and reach the sinus cavity. This could result in sinusitis or the frequent appearance of sinus infections.
Getting dental implants requires waiting several months until the process is complete. The first step is to secure the artificial tooth root to the jawbone. During this time, the patient must wait until the implant and the bone fuse, but this action could take around six months until the bone heals properly. After that, the new tooth is attached to the implant, which is done by screwing the tooth onto the implant.
In some cases, when tooth loss is severe or the patient's body heals slower than regular, finalizing the process takes up to one year.
Recovery takes a little time and effort
Recovery time from dental implant surgery depends on many factors and lasts several months; however, the first thing to keep in mind is practicing excellent oral hygiene. A healthy mouth promotes the proper healing of the area and good integration between the implant and the bone.
An infection that delays the recovery process is more likely to appear when the area around the implant is not cleaned correctly. Similar to bad oral hygiene, smoking is one of the habits that more contributes to the limited cases of dental implant failures.
Regarding the first days of recovery, discomfort is usually minimal among patients. However, there are common symptoms that people experience over several days including:
- Gums and face swelling
- Minor bleeding
- Minor pain
After a dental implant, patients must follow-up with their dental surgeon who will tell the estimated recovery time.
All the components required, plus the complexity of the surgery, make dental implants a little expensive procedure to undergo. Prices vary according to the location and expertise of the surgeon, but the regular price range for a single dental implant can vary depending on individual needs.
Not covered by insurance
Usually, dental insurance does not cover the placement of dental implants. Despite implants are nowadays the standard procedure for replacing a missing dental piece, insurances consider the surgery more as a cosmetic issue.
There are insurance companies that may partially or fully pay for dental implant placement. However, that is only when it's clear that the implant is done for health and not cosmetic reasons.
Scenarios where experts recommend dental implants
When weighing the possibility of using dental implants, several factors could make a patient ideal or not for the procedure. As a result, dentists and dental surgeons could recommend the patient a different alternative to dental implants.
- Adequate bones - People with bone strong enough to secure the implants are strong candidates for this procedure. Instead, some patients possess gums and bone thinner than usual, which makes it more likely that they lose gum and bone around the implants after some time. If the patient's jawbone is unable to support the implant, then additional dental work would be required. For example, the dentist might need to perform a bone graft, where a special piece replaces the damaged bone. The person's body could reject the new material, resulting in a series of unwanted symptoms.
- Willingness to endure the process - As said before, the whole process for a successful dental implant can take a year or even more. Therefore, if the person cannot attend every appointment or needs fast results, then implants might not be the best alternative.
- Free of bad habits - A detrimental habit such as smoking or poor oral hygiene habits expose people to high risks in case of undergoing a dental implant procedure.
- Having a healthy mouth - The best candidates for dental implants are those with healthy oral tissues and a full-grown jawbone.
Scenarios where dental implants are not the best option
- Health problems - People with some medical conditions like osteoporosis should opt for dentures or bridgework instead of dental implants. This is because weak bones make the procedure more likely to fail.
- Failed dental implants in the past - Some dentists say it is safe to undergo the process for the second time after a few months. However, it is hard to predict if the surgery is going to have a different outcome, and the person's health could be at risk.
- Unstable bite - An unstable bite, typically people lacking back teeth, are prone to suffering oral health issues in the future. However, the dental surgeon could still consider the surgery safe in some cases.
There is no better way to replace missing teeth
Every surgery has some inherent risk, but dental implants are a safe and reliable way to replace missing teeth. Its enormous success rate proves it. Additionally, it has the potential to improve your life in multiple aspects such as improved speech, appearance, chewing, and more.
Besides, unlike other alternatives, it is a long-term solution. That means you get to take care of both your health and your finances. Dentures and bridgework normally last no more than a decade, while well-maintained implants may last a lifetime.
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Ridgeview Dental is here to give you the complete, luminous smile you deserve. Call us today to schedule your consultation!
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