What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a high-tech replaceent tooth that mimics the whole tooth structure. A titanium “root” is snugly inserted into the bone and is used to support a crown. It looks, feels and acts like a real tooth and can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Dental implant technology has become the state-of-the-art tooth replacement solution because of its advantages over earlier treatments. And, with modern innovations in dentistry, most patients can benefit from them – even those who were formerly told they could not.
Who are candidates for Dental Implants?
If you have one or more missing teeth, or have broken or decayed teeth that might be beyond repair, implants are usually the answer. If you’re uncomfortable with your dentures, partial denture, you could benefit from implant technology.
In the past, patients with insufficient bone or who had certain health conditions or habits were not considered candidates for implants. Advances in diagnostics and bone reconstruction have made it so that most patients can receive implants.
Benefits and advantages of Dental Implants
Dental Implants behave like natural teeth
One of the biggest advantages of an implant is that it restores full chewing power. Most patients can’t tell the difference between their natural teeth and the implant tooth. They can eat with it completely normally, and they can brush and floss normally as well.
Dental Implants can last a lifetime
Whereas a dental bridge may only last around 10 years or so, dental implants can last a lifetime. The implant is made from titanium and integrates with the jawbone. It’s bio-compatible, meaning that it’s non-toxic and not rejected by the body. All in all it makes a powerful replacement tooth.
Dental Implants prevent bone loss
Bone loss occurs in the jaw when there are no tooth roots (or implants) keeping the jaw bone stimulated.
Where there is no tooth, the jaw bone in the empty space deteriorates due to lack of stimulation. If no implant is placed in the first year of losing a tooth, that bone area loses 25% of its volume, and bone loss continues over the years.
Dentures can even accelerate bone loss as they often become loose, and then rub against the bony ridge, gradually wearing it away. Because an implant replaces the root as well as the tooth, and chewing is restored to normal, it provides the needed stimulation for natural bone growth.
Dental Implants keep adjacent teeth stable
The gap from a missing tooth can cause adjacent teeth to crookedly shift towards the gap. This pulls your teeth out of position and can affect your bite, your ability to chew and your appearance. It can cause interference that makes tooth replacement difficult later. A poor bite can also lead to issues with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and may result in pain and headaches.
Dental Implants can help keep you free of gum disease
missing tooth gap can act as a trap for food and bacteria and can lead to gum disease.
Dental Implants can prevent facial sagging and premature aging
Facial sagging can be an unwanted effect of bone loss resulting from missing teeth. This is where the lower third of the face starts to collapse, gradually closing the distance between the tip of the nose and the chin. Changes can include excess wrinkles around the mouth, thinning lips and a more pointed chin, making the person look a lot older than his or her true age.
When the tooth roots are left un-replaced, as with regular dentures, the face can begin to sag as bone mass deteriorates. Dental implants can prevent this from occurring.
Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort.
Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating.
Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health.
Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
How Successful Are Dental Implants?
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care (see below), implants can last a lifetime.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures
Stable teeth with good chewing power!
Dental implants provide a far superior experience compared to dentures. Even dentures that originally fit the patient well begin to slip and become uncomfortable after a while, due to increasing bone loss.
It’s difficult to keep any denture continually stable due to wear on the bony ridges that dentures clasp onto. The most frustrating aspect of dentures, and the unhealthiest, is their poor chewing ability. many have to limit their diets because they are unable to chew certain foods with their dentures.
If you are deciding between traditional dentures or an implant-supported restoration, here are some things to consider.
Dentures often have to be kept in the mouth by using a dental adhesive.
This sometimes requires re-glues after meals. An implant-supported denture requires no adhesive.
Dentures have to be removed for cleaning.
your implant-supported restoration can be cared for by brushing and flossing.
Dentures cover the roof of the mouth.
With implants, there’s nothing covering the roof of your mouth to interfere with your sense of taste or other normal activities.
Dentures can slip out while eating or speaking.
Implants and implant-supported dentures are securely anchored and won’t slip out.
It’s hard to chew with dentures and you can’t eat a lot of food you like or need.
Dentures can move while you chew, which is annoying, and also makes it difficult to chew! In fact, dentures generally have only 10% or less of full chewing power. Dental implants have full chewing power .
Dentures may click while eating.
With implants or implant-supported dentures, there’s no annoying clicking sound.
Dentures don’t provide the stimulation needed to prevent bone loss.
The jawbone needs to have the stimulation of high-pressure chewing to keep its volume. Implants ensure no jaw bone is lost.