Considering dental implants to replace your missing teeth? Our Collingwood dentists explain more about what they are, and the advantages and disadvantages of this common procedure.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. Held in place by a tiny titanium rod which is implanted into the patient’s jaw bone, the implant serves as the root of the artificial tooth.
Implants are made from titanium because this type of metal is able to bond with the bone. Titanium implants are very stable, secure tooth replacements. Once the dental implant has been placed we then cap the implant with a dental crown, which looks like a natural tooth.
Together, the dental implant and the cap look and function much like a natural tooth.
What are the advantages of having dental implants?
Dental implants offer a number of advantages over other tooth replacement options, including:
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Dental implants can be combined with other treatment options such as a bridge or denture.
Your specific case and requirements, in addition to the density of your jaw bone, will determine the number of implants you need and are able to get. Dental implants are an ideal tooth replacement option for many patients as they have many potential configurations.
Provided you care for your dental implant properly, it can last a lifetime. A proper at-home oral care routine is essential, as are regular visits to your dental office for cleanings and exams.
Other factors including nutrition, genetics or the development of dental diseases can also impact the longevity of your dental implant.
Natural Look and Feel
Your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, will provide you with a natural looking smile, and function just like your natural tooth.
No one should be able to tell that you have artificial teeth, and you can eat, speak and function as you did before. Since there are no nerves in a dental implant, you will not feel sensations from the implant itself.
Instead, any feelings you experience related to your dental implant will come from the soft tissue surrounding the implant. Once your dental implant has had an opportunity to fully heal, and you’ve gotten used to it, you most likely will notice very little difference between your implant and your natural teeth.
Easy to Care For
Similar to bridges, crowns and other restorations, you can care for your dental implants just as you do your natural teeth. They’ll need thorough brushing and flossing every day, and your dentist will need to check them during your regular exams.
What are the potential disadvantages of dental implants?
Every smile is unique. Depending on the nature of your case, dental implants may not be for you. Here are some aspects of dental implants worth considering:
Although dental implants may look and feel somewhat more natural than dental bridges, the implant process is a lengthier, and more invasive.
Completing the dental implant process can take anywhere from 2 to 9 months depending on your treatment plan and your specific case.
The cost of dental implants can vary depending on your insurance coverage and your specific dental issue. While some insurance companies will pay part of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants and still others may not pay for any part of it.
Check with your insurance provider to learn whether your insurance plan will cover your dental implant treatment.
As well as the points above, you must also have enough density in your jaw bone for dental implant treatment to be successful. If you have experienced bone deterioration which has left your jaw lacking in density, you may still be a candidate for the procedure but would require a bone graft to transplant bone to your jaw to support the implant. This would make the process longer and more invasive.
How do I know whether dental implants or other options are right for me?
While dental implants, bridges and other restorations all have their benefits, the right tooth replacement option for you will depend on your oral health needs, budget and other factors.
Ultimately, you’ll need to discuss your case with your dentist to find out how best to restore the function and appearance of your smile.