Dental Implants Guide
Dental Implants Guide
How do dental implants work and what are the benefits?
Are you considering getting a tooth replacement?
If so, you’ll agree with me when I say:
It’s difficult to decide between implants, dentures, and bridges, especially given how many individual factors can influence what your best solution will be.
However, for most people, dental implants are an ideal, permanent solution—in fact, The American Dental Association estimates that as many 5 million dental implants are placed every year in the United States alone.
This guide can help you make an informed decision on whether a dental implant is right for you by exploring:
- The conditions that qualify you for dental implants, such as missing, cracked, or infected teeth, ageing dental bridges, loose dentures, pain and bite problems or a sunken-in jawbone.
- How dental implants work by providing an artificial root that fuses to your jaw bone and connects to replacement teeth.
- The benefits associated with dental implants, like the high success rate and patient satisfaction, healthy facial bones, durability, appearance and functionality, and evading the pitfalls of non-replacement, such as erupted and drifting teeth, facial collapse, and impaired chewing.
- All of the steps involved with getting a dental implant procedure, such as the consultation, surgery, healing process, abutment installation, false teeth, and check-ups.
Do You Need Dental Implants?
If you’re a healthy adult, there are many problems that dental implants can solve, such as:
- Missing, cracked or infected teeth.
- A dental bridge in need of replacement.
- Slipping, clicking, and loose dentures that may stop you from eating what you want.
- Pain or bite problems caused by a missing tooth.
- Sunken-in jawbones.
However, The Canadian Dental Association notes that before treatment is a viable option, you should have healthy gums and enough bone in the jaw—though our dentist may recommend treatments to help you meet these prerequisites.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) describes dental implants as artificial roots made from titanium that support replacement teeth and look like little screws.
When the titanium atoms interact with the calcium in your jawbone, they fuse together in a process called osseointegration.
After this strong foundation has formed, a connector device called an abutment is placed on the implant to connect it to the replacement teeth, such as a dental crown or permanent dentures and bridges.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
There are many positive benefits that dental implants can offer, such as:
- Appearance and Functionality:
Implants look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. The AAID states implants are so comfortable and competent in retaining your natural face shape and smile that you won’t even have to think about them! You even brush and floss them as you would with your organic teeth, and your diet is unrestricted.
Additionally, the medical journal, Quality of Life Research, found that patients who underwent implant therapy received the best esthetic outcomes and were more satisfied with the look of their tooth replacement.
The AAID puts the lifespan of dental bridges and dentures at five to ten years, while dental implants can last decades if treated with care.
- High Success Rate and Patient Satisfaction:
Approximately 450,000 dental implants are placed every year with a success rate of 95%, according to the Journal of the Korean Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons.
Additionally, the medical journal, Family Medicine, points to several studies that showed higher rates of patient satisfaction in implant replacements as opposed to the other options.
- Preserve and Promote the Growth of the Jawbone:
According to The American Academy of Implant Dentistry, dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that stimulates bone growth while preventing bone loss, reducing your risk of tooth loss and infection.
Conversely, fixed bridges require grinding down healthy, adjacent teeth. Partial dentures must be held and supported by other teeth, which may damage them or your bone.
Additionally, implants prevent many risks associated with missing teeth, such as:
- Erupted and Drifting Teeth:
According to the medical journal, Annals of Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine, a missing tooth can affect all of the teeth around it. Adjacent teeth tend to drift inward while opposing teeth can extend too far into the gap and lose the support of their roots.
The result is severe bite and alignment issues, jaw pain, headaches, and other symptoms.
- Facial Collapse:
In cases with multiple lost teeth, the Annals of Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine also notes the possibility of facial collapse—a severe condition that occurs as a result of bone loss in the jawbone that inhibits chewing and causes the face to sink in.
Dental implants are the only tooth replacement that can potentially stimulate growth in the jawbone and correct and prevent facial collapse.
- Impaired Chewing:
Those with missing teeth often struggle with chewing. Surprisingly, the journal relates that impaired chewing can result in inadequate nutrition because hard foods are often avoided or are over-prepared to make them softer.
According to the Quality of Life Research study, implant therapy improved chewing function more than conventional treatment options.
Dental Implant Surgery
While there are several different methods for installing tooth implants, most dental implant surgery can be broken down into a few steps:
- The Consultation:
After an X-ray or CT scan of your mouth, we present your available implant options. This process makes implant procedures faster, cheaper and more predictable.
- The Surgery:
- We use local anesthesia or put you under to make the procedure virtually painless.
- After raising a flap of your gum, we drill a small hole into the jawbone.
- Next, the dental implant fills the hole.
- We then stitch the gum flap back into place.
If you have enough natural bone and a secure implant, you may qualify for a temporary tooth installation during this procedure.
After surgery, it is normal to experience a minor amount of discomfort, swelling, bruising, bleeding, or pain; however, over-the-counter medications can manage these symptoms.
- The Healing Process:
Your implant will need time to fuse to your jawbone and create a durable anchor for your false teeth. The Hong Kong Department of Health estimates that this process will take anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
For the first few weeks, a soft diet may be necessary for proper healing.
- The Abutment:
After the implant has fused to your bone, we install the abutment to connect your replacement teeth.
Sometimes the abutment is also put in during the initial surgery.
- The False Teeth:
When your gums have recovered, we customize false teeth to fit in with your smile and place it on the implant. The replacement may be an individual dental crown, implant-supported bridge, or denture implants.
- The Check-ups:
While false teeth don’t decay, check-ups ensure your replacement teeth fit correctly and uphold the general longevity of your dental implants.
Book a Consultation
If you’re looking for a permanent solution for your missing, cracked, or infected teeth, deficient dental bridges or dentures, tooth pain, or sunken-in jawbone, dental implants could be a great option.
By providing a strong foundation for replacement teeth by fusing to your jawbone, dental implants incur a significant number of benefits, such as a high rate of success and patient satisfaction, healthy facial bones, durability, appearance and functionality.
Additionally, dental implants negate the adverse effects of non-replacement, such as erupted and drifting teeth, facial collapse, and impaired chewing.
To get a dental implant, you will go through a relatively simple process that involves a consultation, surgery, healing, abutment installation, customized false teeth, and check-ups to make sure your implants can last for decades.
If you think that dental implants are right for you, or you’d like to examine your options for tooth replacement, book a free consultation by calling us at (780) 425-1646.