Dental implants are the best solution to replace missing adult teeth. They are the most realistic in appearance and bite, offering a permanent solution for tooth loss. Here are the most commonly asked questions about implants to help you understand why they are the number one choice for dentists and patients alike.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing lost teeth. They offer a unique opportunity for a permanent tooth replacement solution that not only mimics the appearance of the missing tooth but also your tooth root. They get their name because they actually include a surgically implanted post that acts as your root. The post fuses to your jaw mimicking the healthful benefits of your root, stimulating bone growth while also being very secure. There are three basic parts to dental implants:
- Fixture: This is the post itself, that is physically inserted into your jawbone acting as your new tooth root.
- Abutment: This is an extender connecting your new tooth to the post using a small screw to attach the tooth.
- Prosthesis: This is your artificial tooth made of either porcelain or ceramic which is then screwed or cemented to your abutment.
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
Dental implant posts are made from titanium. The titanium actually fuses to your jaw creating the same natural fit as your tooth root.
What Are The Benefits Of Dental Implants?
There are many benefits to dental implants including:
- A permanent and secure option for tooth replacement
- The posts mimic your actual tooth root for bone health
- Easy to maintain and don’t require replacement like crowns or bridges
- Easy to care for requiring the same regime as your natural teeth
- Dental implants don’t strain your surrounding teeth, providing support to avoid shifting
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
You require a healthy jaw bone and gums to support the posts and new teeth. If you don’t have enough jaw bone, dental bridges are usually recommended instead. However, if you have gum disease or a weakening jawbone, in most cases we can provide treatment to bring your oral health up to snuff. From there, we can proceed with your dental implant procedure.
When Are Dental Implants Recommended?
Implants are recommended for the following reasons:
- You have missing teeth
- You don’t want to wear dentures
- Your dentures have caused issues such as trouble eating or increased risk for bone loss
- You have a single missing tooth and want the most permanent, natural solution to maintain oral health
- You require complete mouth reconstruction
You can discuss dental implants with your dentist to see if they are the right solution for you.
How Are Dental Implants Inserted?
Dental implants require a few steps including:
- Insertion of dental implant posts
- A healing period to allow your posts to fuse to your jaw
- The crafting of your replacement teeth
- Attachment of the abutments
- Insertion of your new teeth either using the abutments or strong dental adhesive
How Do You Care For Dental Implants?
You can brush and floss as always to keep your implants healthy. You also require annual dental checkups to make sure your implants are still well fitted and that your bite is comfortable.
Are Implants Better Than Dentures?
Yes. Dentures pose several challenges when compared to dental implants. Although dentures do a good job if they are well maintained and properly fitted, over time they tend to lose their fit. This leads to problematic issues that make it difficult to chew and speak, as well as bone loss. Dentures are also hard to keep in place and keep clean.
While it might seem like the less expensive option, dentures need replacement over time, which can add up for younger people who may need to purchase replacement dentures many times throughout their life.
Why Are Dentures Potentially Harmful?
Dentures can lead to many health issues including:
- Inflamed painful gums
- Bone loss of the jaw
- Difficulty chewing which leads to poor diet and lack of nutrients
- An uneven bite that can lead to pain
- Increased risk for bacteria that can make you ill
Implants help avoid all these issues.
What Are The Aesthetic Challenges Of Dentures?
Poor-fitting dentures are easier to spot which can be embarrassing. Also because they can lead to bone loss, it actually changes the shape of your face. Bone loss contributes to chin sagging as bone is lost from your lower jaw. This can make your face appear sunken while pronouncing your chin and nose. Ill-fitting dentures can also affect your confidence. Dental implants act more like natural teeth and roots, avoiding aesthetic issues.
What Is The Difference Between A Crown And Implants?
Dental crowns are often used to protect weak teeth from decay, or when a tooth is broken or cracked. Crowns are also used following root canals, or in cases where the root is sound but the tooth structure itself is too damaged for a filling. Implants on the other hand are used when both the tooth and root are too damaged or are missing.
What Is The Difference Between A Bridge And Implants?
Bridges are dental prosthetics used for tooth replacement. They are used when the root and tooth are too damaged for a crown, or the tooth is missing. The tooth replacement is basically a crown, which is then attached to your remaining teeth using metal “bridges” to secure the tooth or string of teeth to the adjoining teeth. An implant used in the same scenario is affixed to a surgically implanted post instead of being affixed to adjoining teeth. As a result, there is no damage caused to your remaining teeth and it is also a permanent solution.
Why Is It Important To Replace Missing Teeth?
There are many issues that arise due to tooth loss, including:
- Problems with eating
- Problems with speech
- Shifting of your remaining teeth, leading to gaps, overlaps, and bite problems
- Tooth loss may also weaken the overall structure of your mouth, and this can cause additional tooth loss
Therefore, finding a suitable tooth replacement solution is very important for your oral health.