Posted on: October 6, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52 percent of people in the United States who are between 20-64 years old have at least one missing tooth in their mouth. For adults 65 years of age and older, 20 percent have lost most or all of their teeth. Missing teeth can be caused by a number of reasons, including accidents, tooth decay, gum disease, fractures and more.
Today’s dental implants offer people with missing teeth a chance to replace them with the most realistic, durable option available. Most adults can get an implant if they have healthy gums and enough jawbone to hold the implant. Your implant will be as strong as a natural tooth, possibly stronger. If you currently wear partial dentures, you’ll be able to chew so much better with a dental implant.
What Are Dental Implants for Teeth?
Dental implants are tooth and tooth root substitutes. They are replacements for teeth lost to decay, disease or an accident. Implants come in three parts:
- The post or body: The post, which is often a screw, is typically made from lightweight titanium. Allergies to titanium are rare, but other materials are available.
- The abutment or conector: The abutment screws on top of the post. It will hold your crown.
- The crown: This is the artificial tooth that replaces your missing one.
Why Would Someone Get a Dental Implant?
A dental implant replaces a tooth lost from gum disease, decay or an accident. The individual may not want to sacrifice the integrity of adjacent teeth to get a traditional bridge to replace the tooth. If the individual is missing multiple teeth, they may not want the hassle of a partial denture which can slip or move at the most inconvenient times. People who get dental implants like the idea of replacement teeth that feel exactly like natural teeth.
When Is a Bone Graft Procedure Needed First?
If you lose a tooth, the longer you wait to replace it, the more bone you will lose. A dentist may suggest putting a post in the socket where he or she extracted a tooth to prevent bone loss, but there are patients who cannot afford this or don’t see the value in having it done at the time.
Your dentist may use your bone, synthetic bone or donor bone to spur new bone growth. It can take up to six months to take hold. Bone grafting is a simple process with little downtime for you. You can typically control the pain easily with over-the-counter pain relievers. If you eat soft foods for the next few days, it will speed up the healing process.
How Does a Dentist Place a Dental Implant?
The procedure can take months, but you will spend much of the time healing. Depending on your unique circumstances, your dentist may combine steps.
Placing the Screw
Your dentist or oral surgeon will expose the bone under your gum and drill a small hole into the jawbone. He or she will put the titanium screw in and close the site. In a few months, the bone grows around the implant. Implant bonding is also known as osseointegration.
Placing the Abutment
The abutment holds the crown. Sometimes, a dentist will place the abutment on top of the screw when he or she puts the screw in your bone. If not, your dentist will have to cut your gum to access the screw and place the abutment on it as the second step. Your gum will take a few weeks to heal, but it shouldn’t be more than that.
Adding the Crown
Once your gum heals, you return to have your tailor-made crown secured to the abutment. Your dentist will have taken a mold of your teeth for the dental lab so they can create a realistic crown and have it ready for this last step.
What Home Care Is Required After I Have an Implant Placed?
After the implant goes into your bone, you may experience some discomfort and pain for a few days. The discomfort is usually minor and most people resume their normal activities in 24 to 48 hours. The pain may last up to 10 days, but it is usually manageable with OTC pain relievers. Your dentist will explain how to take care of the implant site after you leave the office.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Dental Implants?
As with any tooth replacement option, there are benefits and drawbacks. Many of our patients feel the benefits are worth any potential drawbacks. You can discuss these points with your dentist during your consultation.
Improved Chewing: Implants are strong, meaning you can eat the same foods you ate before with confidence.
Clear Speech: Implants, unlike dentures, never slip. Your speech should be as clear as it was when you had your natural teeth.
Improved Self-Confidence: Replacing missing teeth will give your self-confidence a boost.
Easy Maintenance: Brush and floss your implants the same as you do your other teeth.
High Upfront Cost: Dental implants have a higher upfront cost than other tooth replacement options. However, they are longer lasting than other options, making them a better value in the long-term. Many dentists offer financing to help spread out the cost.
No Insurance Coverage: Dental insurance typically does not cover dental implants. Since it’s not good for your oral health to have missing teeth in your mouth, you may be able to get your insurance company to pay for the cost of a bridge and you can pay the rest out-of-pocket.
Chance of Infection: Dental implant surgery is highly predictable, but with any surgery, there is a chance of infection or other complications. It will be extremely important that you understand the risks before undergoing any procedure.
Where Can I Get Dental Implants Locally?
Talk to your local dentist first. Some dentists have additional training in placing implants and have extensive experience in implant dentistry. Ask about their credentials and experience; any reputable dentist will gladly provide this information.
If you would like to schedule a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for an implant, please phone our office or contact us online.