While there are several options for replacing missing natural teeth and improving your oral health, smile, and confidence, the dental implant has become an increasingly popular solution. A tooth implant is a permanent solution and offers many benefits to dental patients.
If you are considering getting a dental implant, here are 23 things you should know:
1. A high success rate
Getting a tooth implant has become a popular dental choice in recent years, with many choosing implants over other tooth replacements such as dentures or bridgework. One of the reasons for their rise in popularity is that dentists themselves often recommend them over other options, due to the high success rate.
Studies have found that the success rate of dental implants can be over 98 percent. This depends on your health and your eligibility for the procedure. However, it can mean that a tooth implant could be the best option if you are missing a tooth.
2. Look like natural teeth
Dental implants are designed to look and act like normal, natural teeth. The titanium post on the bottom takes the place of the natural tooth root and offers support and strength. Once the implant has taken, and the surgical site has healed, however, the metal is no longer visible.
The dental crown, bridge, or denture is the part that is seen in the mouth. This is otherwise known as the prosthetic part of the tooth implant. The prosthetic will be based on a model of your mouth and designed to fit in with the rest of your teeth perfectly.
Those who are missing teeth will know how much this can affect the way you feel about yourself and your appearance. Getting a perfectly made implant that will restore your natural smile can help improve your outlook, as well as improving your oral health.
One factor that places dental implants above other choices, such as dentures is comfort. Dental implants are attached directly to the jaw, in the exact space a tooth would be. This means the implant will not move around or slip in the way a denture might.
The strength of the dental implant also means you can chew properly, without having to worry too much about the strength of the prosthetic. This can add comfort and convenience to mealtimes. You may even be able to eat foods that you were previously forced to avoid, due to a gap in your teeth or worries over your dentures.
A dental implant is small compared to many other tooth replacement options. If you get a single tooth implant, it will not cover any other part of the teeth or the roof of your mouth. After a while, you may even forget it is there.
5. No loosening or slipping
Dental implants, once they are attached, do not need to be removed. This means they are much lower maintenance than dentures. There is also far less chance they will become loose, as they are designed to be permanent.
If you use dentures, you will already be familiar with the worry that comes from the risk of slippage, as well as the way loosened dentures can affect the way you speak and chew. These factors do not need to be any concern when you have a dental implant.
6. Cosmetic improvement
A tooth implant can add a great deal of improvement to the appearance of your mouth. Obviously, a missing tooth can impact your smile in a big way. The natural appearance of a tooth implant can be the best-looking solution for this problem.
A dental implant could be the first step in a longer-term plan to improve the overall aesthetics of your teeth. Following an implant, you could consider teeth whitening. Some might also consider veneers for a brighter and healthier looking smile.
7. Helps prevent aging
As well as a gap in your smile, your appearance can be affected in other ways by a missing tooth. Your face shape and jawline can begin to shift and sag if you are missing any teeth, causing your face to age prematurely. One or more implants to solve this issue can bring your face back to its natural shape.
8. No decay
Unlike the rest of your teeth, the material your tooth implant is made of cannot decay. The metal post is titanium, and the prosthetic is made of artificial materials. This might be porcelain or a composite resin.
While you still need to brush and floss your teeth, you do not have to worry about the potential for cavities when it comes to any teeth that have been replaced by implants.
9. Easy to clean
Tooth replacement options such as dentures can be challenging to maintain and clean, requiring you to adapt new oral hygiene practices in addition to old ones. Dental implants have no such requirements.
Because the implant has the shape, size, and placement of a regular tooth, once it has healed and become integrated into the mouth, it needs only regular care. Brushing, flossing, and other care generally recommended by your dentist should be adequate to maintain healthy teeth and a clean implant.
10. Supports other teeth
If you are missing a tooth, the teeth on either side of the gap can begin to move into the space, causing displacement. This can result in deformities and can even cause pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If this is ongoing, you will require TMJ treatment, which can include replacing your teeth.
By replacing the missing tooth with a tooth implant as soon as possible, you prevent your other teeth from moving unnaturally. This can prevent long-term pain and other issues that shifting teeth can cause.
11. Prevents disease
A tooth that remains missing for a long time can present another risk to your oral health. Food particles and bacteria can easily become caught in the gap between your teeth.
Even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly, your risk of contracting gum disease can be heightened by a long-term tooth gap. Replacing this with an implant can lower the risk of disease.
12. Long lasting
A tooth implant has the potential to last your entire lifetime. This is important to consider for those who might be concerned about the initial cost of the procedure.
It is true that the cost of dental implants can be high at the outset, particularly if you are getting more than one tooth replaced. However, it can be helpful to break the cost down per year of wear.
13. Affordable maintenance
In addition to the long-term wear, those considering dental implants should remember that once the implant has healed, it should behave like a regular tooth. Unlike dentures, you are not required to purchase special substances for cleaning or adhesion. This means although the initial cost is higher, the upkeep could be much more affordable.
Those with good physical health and good oral health will have an even better chance of keeping their implants permanently. Your dentist can offer advice on how to improve your oral health if you need to.
14. No alterations needed
Bridgework is an option that some might consider to replace a missing tooth or teeth. This involves attaching the prosthetic tooth to the teeth on either side of it using supports.
This places additional strain on those teeth, which must be altered in order to fit the bridge. Dental implants do not require this type of alteration or additional support.
15. Can replace multiple teeth
If you are missing multiple teeth, or all your teeth, it can seem overwhelming to consider the work needed to replace all of them. With implants, however, you can have multiple teeth replaced at the same time.
Four or six teeth implants can be placed in one surgery used to support an arch of multiple tooth prosthetics. Because the dentist does not have to worry about the locations of your real teeth, the procedure might be completed in one day.
16. Can be attached to dentures
Although dental implants may often be preferred to dentures, they can also improve your experience if you do need to use dentures. One of the central issues experienced with dentures is how they can move around in the mouth, causing discomfort and inconvenience in various ways.
The stability of a dental implant could give dentures additional security. Special implants can be embedded in your jaw that are designed to attach to your dentures. This means the dentures are less likely to move and slip, offering you additional comfort and security.
17. Stop bone loss
One of the serious side effects of a missing tooth or teeth is the potential loss of bone mass in the jaw. The jawbone is designed to attach to your teeth, and the pressure on the teeth from chewing stimulates the jawbone and keeps it healthy.
Without this attachment and the stimulation, it provides for the jaw; the bone can start to deteriorate. If you have dentures that rub against the jawbone, this can happen even faster than normal.
The bone loss can contribute to the way missing teeth can affect your appearance, particularly your face shape. By choosing a tooth implant instead of another procedure, you can help preserve the integrity of your jawbone, as well as your appearance.
18. You might be eligible
Many people are suitable candidates for dental implants. Factors such as age should not affect whether you are a viable candidate for the surgery.
However, it is important to remember that your dentist must assess you before you are approved for the procedure. There are a few different factors that must be considered to ensure the implants will be successful, such as the strength of the jawbone at the implant site.
19. You can get extra help
In the past, you may not have been able to get a tooth implant if you did not have enough bone at the implant site, or if your bone was not strong enough. While this may still affect your eligibility, there are new ways you can receive extra help to allow you to get the implants.
Bone grafts can be placed into the jaw to provide extra support if you need it. The implants themselves have also been improved, and now may not require as much jawbone support as they did in the past.
20. Potential risks
As with any surgery or dental procedure, implants can carry some risk. This is one of the reasons it is so important to find a dentist who will examine you thoroughly before approving you for the procedure. Your dentist should also be able to recommend a suitable surgeon or periodontist.
The potential risks for an implant include those that accompany most oral surgeries. These include risks of damage to the surrounding area, fracture or misplacement of the implant, or infection.
The risk, however, is quite low. Ensuring that the procedure is being performed by a reputable professional with a high level of expertise can lower it even further.
21. Easy surgery
Getting dental implants means undergoing a surgical procedure. Your dentist should talk you through the details of what this will involve when he or she suggests dental implants as an option for you.
With typical dental implant surgery, only a local anesthetic is required to numb the immediate area. Any pain or discomfort will only be felt afterward, and it is generally considered to be like that of an extracted tooth.
The initial surgery is just to place the titanium post into the jaw. While the gums heal around the surgery, the post will fuse with the jawbone.
22. Caring for your implant
Following your dental implant surgery, you will need to attend follow-up appointments with your dentist to ensure it has been successful. The healing can take several months to complete entirely.
If you had a more complicated surgery, you might need to take pain medication in the period following. However, most dental implants only require basic pain management immediately following the surgery.
You will need to take particular care of your oral hygiene in the weeks following your surgery, to make sure there is no chance of infection. These maintenance tasks are simple and easy, and your dentist can offer assistance and advice if you need it.
23. Improving technology
Dental implant technology has come a long way. In the past, tooth replacement options centered on the use of dentures and bridgework. Dental implants appear to be on their way to replacing these options.
The improvements still being made to dental implant technology mean they are becoming ever more accessible. They are more widely available now than before, and experts continue to work on the technology to allow as many people as possible to use them.