Replacement of missing teeth is essential for your general health and the health of your remaining teeth. When natural teeth are lost, you not only lose functionality, but you may also have other problems.
Having lost teeth not only affects your confidence but also causes weakening of your mouth if left untreated. Dental implants can help you look and feel better, improving self-esteem, and helping you live a happier life.
A dental implant (artificial tooth root) is a common tooth replacement option used by dental professionals to treat patients following tooth loss or extraction. Implants are surgically placed into your jawbone, imitating the shape of a screw and bonding with your natural bone. They serve as a foundation for dental crowns (artificial teeth).
There are various alternatives available for replacing missing or damaged teeth. Dental implants, on the other hand, stand out above the rest. Dentures and bridges can’t compete with dental implants when it comes to replacing missing teeth.
While dental implants have a few disadvantages, they also provide various benefits, many of which other tooth replacement alternatives cannot or do not offer. For many people, the benefits of dental implants greatly exceed the drawbacks. Here are some of the unique benefits of dental implants, whether you’ve lost one or more teeth.
Dental Implants Are Versatile.
Bridges, partial dentures, and complete dentures are all limited in the number of teeth they can replace. Thus, depending on how many teeth you’ve lost, your treatment options may be limited. Implants, on the other hand, are incredibly versatile procedures.
They can be fitted with a crown to restore a single tooth, a bridge or partial denture to replace several teeth, or complete dentures to replace all of your teeth. This allows you and your dentist to create the best treatment plan for you.
Want to learn more? Read our detailed guide: What Are Dental Implants: Complete Guide
Dental Implants Function Similarly to Natural Teeth.
One of the most significant benefits of a dental implant is that it restores full chewing strength. The majority of patients are unable to distinguish the difference between their natural teeth and the implant teeth. They can normally eat with it, and they can brush and floss properly as well.
Implants Are Comfortable.
Dental implants are placed directly into your jawbone to resemble a tooth’s root and provide improved strength and support to the prosthetic. During the recovery period, your jawbone grows around the titanium rod in your jaw, firmly holding it in place.
This extra stability makes implants feel just like natural teeth, to the point that you may forget they’re even there. Other tooth replacement methods can not replicate the sensation of tooth roots. Therefore, they do not feel as secure or natural as implants.
Because our teeth play a vital part in helping us create certain sounds, missing a few teeth, especially in the front of your mouth, can make a significant difference in your speech. Similarly, if your dentures are loose, they can move about while you speak, causing you to stutter or slur.
This can be both uncomfortable and distracting because you’re constantly concerned about whether your dentures will slip or how your voice will sound.
Want to learn more? Read our detailed guide: Different Types Of Dental Implants
Prevent Bone Loss
When there is no tooth present, the jaw bone in the empty space deteriorates. If no implant is inserted during the first year of losing a tooth, the bone area loses 25% of its volume, and bone loss occurs over time.
Dentures can also increase the risk of bone loss since they usually become loose and rub on the bony ridge, progressively eroding it away. Since an implant replaces both the root and the tooth, and chewing is restored to normal, it stimulates natural bone growth.
Improve Your Oral Health
A dental implant may sound invasive and frightening, yet many dentists consider implants a less invasive treatment to replace missing teeth because implants don’t harm your natural teeth.
Implants are supported in the same way as natural teeth: by the jaw. On the other hand, bridges are supported by crowns on the healthy teeth adjacent to the gap. Performing dental procedures on healthy teeth may weaken them. Leaving your healthy teeth alone will help you maintain good dental health.
They Are Durable
Dental implants can last a lifetime, as opposed to a dental bridge, which may only last ten years or so. The titanium implant is attached to the jawbone and merges with it. It’s bio-compatible, which means it’s not harmful and won’t be rejected by the body. Overall, it is a strong replacement tooth.
Implants Keep Your Surrounding Teeth Stable
A lost tooth might cause neighbouring teeth to move crookedly towards the gap. This causes your teeth to shift out of position, affecting your bite, ability to eat, and aesthetics. It can lead to disruptions, making tooth replacement more difficult later. A poor bite can also cause problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint), resulting in pain and headaches.
Prevents Changes in Your Face's Shape
Your teeth serve to support the structure of your face. When you lose your teeth, you also miss that support, making your face change shape and look older. Dental implants support your face in the same way natural teeth do, keeping it from changing shape.
Who Can Have Dental Implants?
Anyone healthy enough to have oral surgery can usually qualify for a dental implant. Patients must have healthy gums and sufficient bone to support the implant. They must also be committed to maintaining good dental hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly.
Heavy smokers, people with teeth clenching, who have uncontrolled chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, and patients who have received radiation therapy to the head/neck area should be thoroughly examined by a health care provider. If you’re thinking about getting implants, consult with a dentist to determine if they’re ideal for you.
Other vital factors to consider when deciding whether you can have dental implants may include but are not limited to the following:
Procedure for Dental Implants
Essentially, endosteal implants are performed as an outpatient procedure. Patients are allowed to go home the same day as their operation. However, the process can take several months to complete, particularly during the healing period and prior to the insertion of an artificial tooth (crown).
Depending on the number of implants required, dental implant procedures are divided into several steps:
If you still have the damaged tooth in your mouth, the dentist will remove it. However, this step is not necessary if your tooth is already removed or missing.
Bone grafting and jawbone preparation
Implant surgery is often performed on patients with thin or soft jawbones. Bone grafting, which increases the bone quantity, assures that the surgery will not fail. A synthetic bone graft, including a bone substitute, or a natural graft, in which bone is extracted from another part of the patient’s body, are both options.
Before a dental implant can be implanted, bone grafts must heal for several months. Grafts, fortunately, are not always required.
The oral surgeon exposes the bone during the surgery by cutting the gums using small instruments. A periodontist or oral surgeon drills holes in the bone. The implant (a post) is then placed deep into the bone to serve as the tooth’s root.
If the front tooth is being repaired, the dentist will use a temporary detachable solution to fill the gap while the implant heals beneath the gums. If it is a back tooth, nothing will be placed over it.
Healing and Improvement
After the titanium implant is inserted into your jawbone, the process of osseointegration begins. This is the point at which the supporting bone starts to bond with the implant. This process, which can take several months, guarantees that the base is strong enough to support an artificial tooth (dental crown).
Following the completion of the healing process, your dentist will put an abutment over the implant post. The abutment extends the implant over soft tissue or gums. This process makes it possible to place the dental crown easily.
Your dentist will take new impressions of your mouth once the implant has grown into the bone and is firm enough to support chewing. Then a dental technician will build a customised dental crown. An artificial dental crown resembles your actual teeth. The crown is the only visible part of the implant because it rests on top of the abutment (connector).
Antibiotics and pain-relieving medication are often prescribed after surgery. As part of the healing process, it is also important to only eat soft foods and practice excellent oral hygiene practices. It is also important to restrict alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco consumption for optimal results.
Want to learn more? Read our detailed guide: Dental Implants Procedure: What You Need To Know
FAQ's About Dental Implants
The Cost of Dental Implants
The cost of getting dental implants depends on the location of the dental clinic and may include the consultation, dental x-ray, insertion of the implant, and abutment. In Victoria, Australia, the average cost may range from $2,000 to $5,000 per tooth.
- Consultation: $64.67
- X-Ray per film: $45.01
- Insert one-stage implant (per implant): $2158.28
- Full Crown attached to osseointegrated Implant – veneered indirect: $1876.00
- Implant abutment (per abutment): $911.31
At Narre Warren Dental Care, affordable payment plan options are available. Talk with one of our team to get an average cost of the treatment.
Alternatives for Dental Implants
- Full dentures. Dentures, also known as false teeth, are synthetic replacements for lost natural teeth. Some dentures are made to replace only a few missing teeth, while other types can replace all of your teeth, gums and surrounding tissues.
- Partial Dentures. style=”font-weight: 400;”> If you have a few healthy teeth left but have multiple missing and need to be replaced, you may need partial dentures. The teeth on a partial denture are bonded to a plastic frame that matches the colour of your gums, allowing the dentures to blend in with your remaining teeth.
- Fixed dental bridge. Fixed bridges are fixed in place as opposed to complete or partial dentures. Your dentist will place the bridge in the space using a particular type of bonding material, and only your dentist will be able to remove it.
Potential Complications of Dental Implants
Dental implants are a reasonably safe procedure. There is a 5% chance that your implant will fail, meaning it will become loose or infected and need to be removed. When the implants are replaced in these instances, they work more than 90% of the time. Furthermore, there is a minor risk of nerve injury to the nerves that support your face and gums, but this risk can be avoided with careful preparation.
It is normal to experience some pain after dental surgery. You may experience mild discomfort as part of these conditions:
- Swelling of the gums and face.
- Bleeding gums or bruises.
- Minor bleeding
- Pain where the implant was inserted.
Does Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
In most cases, dental insurance providers do not cover the entire cost of dental implants, while some insurance companies may not cover any expenditures. Since health insurance coverage varies, you should consult with the finance department of your provider before beginning any treatments. You can also look at our payment options.
The dentist will typically use local anesthesia for most patients, and you will be numb and comfortable throughout your procedure. Some patients instead use nitrous oxide or general anesthesia to alleviate dental anxiety.
To place a dental implant, your oral surgeon will make an incision in your gums and expose the bone. Holes are drilled into the exposed bone to anchor the metal post, then inserted to align with your natural tooth root. Following this, the gum tissue around it will be sutured so that the healing phase can happen. Furthermore, the recovery time from the surgery will often take between four to six months.