Dental implants often emerge as the ideal option when exploring long-term solutions for missing teeth. But what are dental implants? Who needs them, and what factors should you consider before deciding on this treatment?
Read on to learn more.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial structures designed to imitate natural teeth roots. Typically made from biocompatible metals like titanium, these structures are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Once in place and fully healed, they provide a secure base to support single or multiple artificial or replacement teeth. Replacement teeth could be dental crowns, dentures, or dental bridges.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Act Like Natural Teeth: Dental implants function, feel, and look like natural teeth. This allows for normal eating, speaking, and smiling.
- Durability: Dental implants are durable and can last a lifetime with proper care, making them a cost-effective solution in the long run.
- Prevent Bone Loss: When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of bone mass in the jaw. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that also replaces jaw bone stimulation, helping to maintain healthy bone.
- Keep Adjacent Teeth Stable: The gap caused by a missing tooth can cause the adjacent teeth to shift position leading to a change in bite. Dental implants fill the gap and keep the surrounding teeth stable.
- Improved Nutrition: With dental implants, you can enjoy a wide variety of foods, which might not be possible with other tooth replacement options.
- Prevent Jaw Deterioration: By filling the gap in your smile, dental implants can help to maintain the natural shape of your face and jaw.
- Improved Facial and Bone Features: Dental implants preserve natural tooth tissue by avoiding the need to cut down adjacent teeth for conventional bridgework. They also help preserve bone and significantly reduce bone resorption and deterioration.
- Enhanced Self-Esteem: Dental implants can give back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
Who Needs Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer a flexible solution to various dental conditions, replacing your entire tooth structure, from the crown to the root, with a perfect replica for a perfect smile. However, they are not suitable for everyone.
Here are some situations wherein you need dental implants:
- Individuals suffering from tooth loss due to disease, injury, or decay
- Those with a fully developed jaw bone to support the titanium post of the implant
- Persons with enough healthy bone or who are eligible for bone augmentation to ensure successful bone fuses
- Patients possessing healthy oral tissues and practicing excellent oral hygiene
- Individuals who do not have health conditions that could impede healing, such as uncontrolled diabetes or cancer
- Those unable or unwilling to wear dentures
- Persons looking to improve their speech impaired by tooth loss
With a high success rate in the right patients, dental implants can significantly enhance your dental health, comfort, and appearance, contributing to a beautiful and natural smile. However, certain dental implant requirements need to be met to be considered the ideal candidate for this successful procedure. If you fit these criteria and wish to explore dental implants as a solution to tooth loss, an oral surgeon or a dental implant specialist is the best person to consult.
The Process of Placing Dental Implants
The dental implant process is a surgical procedure that unfolds over several months and various stages. This comprehensive treatment goes beyond merely addressing your dental health issues but also factors in your oral hygiene and bone health.
Here’s what you can expect throughout the process:
- Initial consultation and planning involving dental exams, treatment planning, and health history assessment
- Removing the damaged tooth (if necessary)
- Preparing the jawbone for surgery, possibly including bone grafting
- Placement of the dental implant
- The healing period for bone growth
- Placement of the abutment, followed by more healing
- Impression creation of your teeth and jaw to make your new tooth
- Placement of the artificial tooth (crown)
This may seem like a lengthy process, but keep in mind a perfect solution for tooth loss is not a quick fix but a quest for a lasting remedy. So, it’s important to be patient as the entire procedure unfolds; the result is a beautiful, natural, and healthy smile that greatly impacts your oral health and confidence.
What Makes Dental Implants Costly
Dental implants come with a higher price tag for several reasons, all centered around the quality and complexity of the procedure, the materials used, and the sustainability of the results. Let’s delve into the key factors contributing to the cost.
The Titanium Post
The core of the dental implant, the titanium post, acts as the root for your replacement tooth. This titanium screw is biocompatible, which means it integrates well with the bone in your jaw and maintains a sturdy and long-lasting base for your new tooth. The innate strength and durability of titanium and its unique biological properties make it a costly component of the overall procedure.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The implant process involves multiple visits to your dental professional, starting with an initial consultation to design your personalized treatment plan. Subsequent visits for the implant placement, abutment attachment, and the final fitting of the dental crowns all contribute to the cost. Each phase requires high precision, skill, and time, adding to the overall fees.
In some cases, additional treatments are necessary before the beginning of the implant treatment. For instance, if sufficient bone mass is missing in the jaw (often a consequence of tooth loss and time), a bone graft may be performed to augment the bone and ensure a sturdy foundation for the implant. Other preparatory treatments can include tooth extractions and treatment of gum diseases, which are usually conducted by an oral surgeon and add up to the overall cost.
Quality of Materials
The artificial tooth or dental crown placed on the implant is custom-made to match your natural teeth in size, shape, and color. These replacement teeth are generally made from high-quality, durable materials that mimic the strength and appearance of your actual teeth. Ensuring that the dental crowns last a long time, resist wear and tear, and look natural and aesthetically pleasing requires labor-intensive crafting processes and materials of superior quality – adding to the overall cost of dental implants.
Are Dental Implants Worth It
When pondering “What are dental implants and why are they used?” it’s vital to understand that they offer more than just a prosthetic replacement of a tooth. They offer durability and comfort and can improve overall oral health. They maintain your facial structure, minimize the risk of oral issues arising from missing teeth, and improve your ability to chew and speak.
Additionally, dental implants are designed to be strong, and when maintained with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits, they can last many years. In fact, with optimal care, dental implants can last for over 25 years, making them a potentially more long-term solution than other dental restoration options.
Dental implants offer a long-term and aesthetically pleasing solution to tooth loss. They require careful consideration, planning, and execution by an experienced dental professional. While the upfront cost may seem high, the long-term benefits of improved oral health and confidence make dental implants a worthwhile investment in your smile.
If you’re considering this procedure, schedule a consultation with us to determine if you’re a good candidate and start your journey towards a healthier, happier smile. Remember, dental implants can improve not just your appearance but also your quality of life.