Despite all of the modern improvements in dental care, countless Americans ultimately suffer tooth loss, mostly due to periodontal disease, tooth decay or some type of trauma. For decades, dentists treated missing teeth using dentures and bridges. These days, however, more and more patients are choosing dental implants to restore function and improve their appearance.
What are Dental Implants?
Essentially replacement tooth roots, dental implants are titanium posts, which are surgically inserted into the jawbone beneath the gum line. Once in place, dental implants allow dentists to mount bridges or replacement teeth to the area.
What Are the Advantages?
There are numerous advantages to dental implants, including:
- Improved appearance: Since they are designed to permanently fuse to bone, dental implants feel and look like your own teeth.
- More comfortable: Since they are permanently implanted into your jaw bone, these dental devices eliminate the discomfort and irritation that comes with removable dentures.
- Better speech: Unlike dentures, which can sometimes slip and cause you to mumble or slur words; implants allow you to speak without issues just as you normally would.
- Fewer eating difficulties: While sliding dentures can make it hard to chew; dental implants work just like normal teeth, allowing you to confidentially eat without pain.
- Enhanced self-esteem: Because they look like actual teeth, dental implants make patients feel comfortable and confident when they talk and smile.
- Better durability: Implants are designed to last many years. With proper care, they can even last your entire life.
- Convenience: Implants eliminate the embarrassment and inconvenience of removing dentures.
- Better oral health: While tooth-supported bridges require reduction of existing teeth, implants do not. Since adjacent teeth do not require alteration, they are generally left intact, reducing the risk of future tooth decay. Implants also make it easier for patients to clean between their teeth, so they are less likely to develop cavities.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
To effectively support dental implants, patients must have healthy gums and sufficient bone support. If your bone has become soft or thin, you may require a bone graft to make your jaw bone durable and dense enough to hold an implant. In some instances, patients may require sinus lifts if they do not have adequate bone height in the upper jaw or their sinuses are too close to their jaws.
How Successful Are Dental Implants?
The success rates of implants can vary based on a patient’s individual situation and the area of the jaw where the implants are placed. In general, however, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98 percent.
To improve your chances of a quality outcome, your dentist will carefully assess the condition of your jaw bone. If he or she determines that your jaw lacks adequate density, your dentist will likely recommend a grafting procedure, which usually takes a few weeks or a few months, depending on the condition of the existing bone and extent of the graft.
How do you Take Care of Implants?
Once you get your implants, it is very important that you take care of your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing is essential, as are regular dental checkups and cleanings. Your dentist or hygienist will explain what your new preventative dental care regimen will be.
Replacement teeth cannot be whitened, so you may decide to have your teeth whitened before your receive dental implants. This will greatly improve the look of your smile and ensure consistent tooth coloration.
How Much do Dental Implants Cost?
Dental implants are typically more expensive than other tooth replacement methods, and most insurance providers cover less than 10 percent of all fees. The ultimate cost of your implantation will vary, depending on your location and specific needs.
Our staff is happy to explain costs, alternatives and payment options, including potential in-house discount plans and financing options for patients who qualify.
Getting the Process Started
If you are looking for a permanent way to repair your smile, call us to schedule a consultation. Your dentist will let you know if you are a good candidate for implants, and will explain the process to you, along with alternatives. If you choose to undergo the procedure, we can also work with you and your insurance company to ensure that the procedure is gentle on your wallet as well.