Are you considering dental implants as a replacement option for a missing tooth? Here, our Whitehorse dentists explain exactly what they are, and the advantages and disadvantages of this common procedure.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants permanently replace the root of a missing tooth. Dental restorations are held in place by a tiny titanium rod that is implanted into the jaw bone, serving the same function as a natural tooth root.
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.
When used together, the implant and restoration will be able to look and function quite similarly to 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 several advantages, including:
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or every tooth in the upper and lower jaw of a patients. Implants can be combined with other treatment options like bridges or dentures to restore a smile's function and appearance.
Your specific case and requirements, in addition to the density of your jaw bone, will determine the number of actual implants you need/can get. Dental implants are a popular option for many patients as they have many potential configurations.
Provided you properly care for your dental implant, it can last a lifetime. A proper at-home oral care routine is a must, as are regular visits to your dental office for cleanings and exams.
Other factors may affect the longevity of dental implants, including genetics, nutrition, and the development of dental diseases such as periodontitis.
Natural Look and Feel
As mentioned above, your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, will look 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 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.
Easy to Care For
Similar to restorations like bridges or crowns, you can care for your dental implants just like your own natural teeth. Implants need to be brushed and flossed each day and your dentist will have to check in on them during regular exams.
What are the potential disadvantages of dental implants?
Depending on the nature of your case, dental implants may not be for you. Here are some aspects of dental implants you may want to consider:
While dental implants may look and feel somewhat more natural than dental bridges, the dental implant process is a lengthier, and more invasive.
Depending on your treatment plan and unique smile, the dental implant process may take anywhere between 2 and 9 months to be completed.
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 with your insurance provider to learn whether your insurance plan will cover your treatment.
On top of the above items, you must have enough bone density in your jaw to host a dental implant successfully. If you don't, you may still be a candidate for the procedure, but it will require bone graft to transplant bone onto your jaw in order to support the implant. This makes the process take longer and become 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 choice 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 which tooth replacement option would work best for you.