While oral hygiene has drastically improved over the years, millions of Americans still suffer from tooth loss caused by a variety of problems. Tooth decay, gingivitis, or other oral health issues are all common causes. Luckily, as oral hygiene improves, so do our solutions for tooth loss. Building on the dentures and bridges of the past, dental implants can now treat people with missing teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the foundation for replacement teeth. They’re metal posts or frames that are surgically added to the jawbone, allowing dentists to properly affix replacement teeth. Once in place, dental implants provide stability for replacement teeth and ensure that they don’t slide or shift in the mouth.
Compared to other methods of replacement teeth like dentures or bridges, implants can be more costly. Insurance typically does not cover more than 10% of the cost. Implants can be seen as a long-term investment in your comfort and health, though, as they have a success rate of 98% and have the potential to last a lifetime.
Benefits of Dental Implants:
- Improved Comfort. Your implants are intended to become part of the natural structure of your mouth, so you won’t have to worry about the discomfort that can come from removable dentures.
- Convenience. With dental implants, you won’t have to worry about embarrassing removal, dealing with adhesive, or extra cleaning.
- Easier Eating. Missing teeth or removable dentures can make eating difficult and unpleasant. Dental implants act as your natural teeth, allowing you to eat whatever you want without worry or pain.
- Improved Speech. If you have removable dentures that don’t fit perfectly, the teeth can slip within your mouth causing speech to be slurred. With dental implants, you can speak freely and with confidence.
- Better Oral Health. Implants don’t require the removal of other teeth. More teeth left intact means better long-term oral health. Also, implants allow easier access between teeth for brushing and flossing.
Getting Dental Implants
The process of getting dental implants typically consists of three phases.
First, the dentist will surgically place the implant into the jawbone. After this procedure, your dentist may recommend that you stick to a diet of soft foods, cold foods, and warm soup as your mouth heals.
After that, the bone around the implant will begin to heal. This is what makes the implant so strong: your bone heals around it and holds it in place. This process can take some time. Some patients may need to wait for the replacement teeth to be placed until the structure is completely integrated, which can take up to several months. However, other patients can get implants and replacement teeth all in one visit. Your dentist will be able to let you know what is the best plan for you.
Finally, the last step is the placement of your artificial teeth. Luckily, these implants have the potential to look extremely natural. They come with options and can typically be matched to your natural tooth color. For a single tooth, your dentist will most likely customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. For larger sections of teeth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and implants perfectly.
Unfortunately, dental implants aren’t for everyone. Healthy gums and adequate bone density are required for implants. Regular dentist visits and good at-home oral hygiene are important; the structures require good upkeep for long-lasting results. If you’re interested in exploring your tooth replacement options, be sure to ask your dentist whether or not dental implants are the best choice for you.
Dental Implants at Tower Dental
All in all, while implants may be an expensive option, they look and feel the most natural. If you have missing teeth and are looking for the best replacement options, contact our team at Tower Dental Associates in Gainesville to find out if implants are right for you.