Are you considering dental implants as a replacement option for your teeth? Here, our Smithers dentists explain what they are as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with this common procedure.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants replace missing teeth permanently. Implants serve as artificial teeth and are held in place with a small titanium rod implanted into a patient's jaw bone.
Titanium is used because this type of metal can bond with bone. Titanium implants are very stable, secure tooth replacements. We then cap the dental implant with a dental crown, which looks like a natural tooth.
Together, the implant and the cap look and function just like your natural tooth.
What are the advantages of having dental implants?
Dental implants offer a number of different advantages, including:
Natural Look and Feel
As it is mentioned above, your dental implants will look and function just like your natural tooth when they are paired with dental bridges or crowns.
No one should be able to tell that you have artificial teeth, and you can eat, speak and function as you did before while enjoying quality of life. Since there are no nerves in a dental implant, you will not feel sensations.
Instead, any feelings you experience related to your dental implant will actually come from the soft tissue around the implant. After your implant has healed and you’ve gotten used to it, you most likely will notice very little difference between your implant and your natural teeth.
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth in the upper or lower jaw. We can combine implants with other treatment options such as a bridge or denture.
Your unique requirements and needs, in addition to the density of your jaw bone, will influence the actual number of implants you are able to get. Dental implants are a popular option for many patients since they have many possible configurations.
As long as your dental implant is properly cared for, it can last a lifetime. Proper at-home oral health care is an absolute must, as are regular visits to your dentist's office for exams and cleanings.
Other factors including nutrition, genetics or development of dental diseases can also impact the longevity of your dental implant.
Easy to Care For
Similar to bridges, crowns or other restorations, you can care for your dental implants jus like your natural teeth. They’ll need thorough brushing and flossing, and your dentist will need to check them during your regular exams.
What are potential disadvantages of dental implants?
Depending on the nature of your unique case, dental implants may actually not be the right treatment option for you. Here are some of the aspect of dental implants you may want to consider:
Depending on your insurance coverage and your specific dental issue, the cost of dental implants can vary. While some insurance companies 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 in with your insurance provider in order to learn whether or not your insurance plan will cover your treatment.
Although dental implants may appear and feel a bit more natural than dental bridges, the implant process is more invasive and takes longer.
Depending on your treatment plan and your specific case, the entire dental implant procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 9 months to complete.
In addition to the items above, you must have enough density in your jaw bone for a dental implant treatment to be a success. If you don’t, 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 restorations like implants and bridges have their benefits to your smile, the right option for you will entirely depend on your budget, oral health needs and a number of other different factors.
Ultimately, you’ll need to discuss your case with your dentist to find out which tooth replacement option would work best for you.