What Are Dental Implants and Are You A Good Candidate For Them?

What Are Dental Implants

As we live in a society where first impressions count and a radiant smile can be your greatest asset, more and more people are embracing the life-changing benefits of dental implants. These tiny yet powerful devices are revolutionizing oral health, providing not just a fix for missing teeth but an upgrade to your confidence, lifestyle, and overall well-being.

From enhancing your overall appeal to restoring full mouth functionality, dental implants pave the way for a future where everyone can flash their pearly whites with unabashed pride and joy. 

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are metal, titanium posts surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. These titanium implants act as sturdy anchors, taking the place of a tooth root, and serve as the foundation upon which dentists can fix an artificial crown or bridge.

Unlike conventional complete dentures or dental bridges, dental implants are fixed and non-removable, fusing with your bone over time to provide strength and stability similar to natural teeth.

Also, here are the types of dental implants that your dentist will recommend you:

1. Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are the most common type, offering a solid foundation for single and multiple tooth replacements. These implants come in the shape of small screws, cylinders or plates that dentists surgically place into the jawbone. Also, each implant can hold one or more prosthetic teeth.

2. Subperiosteal Implants

Dentists use subperiosteal implants on the jawbone but under the gum. This type of implant is for patients who have a shallow jawbone and can’t or don’t want to undergo a bone augmentation to build it up. A metal frame fits onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue.

And as the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts, which dentists attach to the frame, protrude through the gums. Then, they mount the artificial teeth to these posts.

3. Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic implants may be an option for those with insufficient bone density. Zygomatic implants are longer than standard dental implants and engage the dense bone of the cheek (zygomatic) to support a full-arch fixed dental implant in the upper jaw.

Who Needs Dental Implants?

Unfortunately, not everyone can get dental implants because of different reasons that may hinder the current or post-care treatment. You should be aware of the different signs that indicate you might need dental implants.

Dental implants are most beneficial for those who suffer from:

Tooth Loss

Dental implant requirements typically include losing one or more teeth due to various causes ranging from an accident, decay, or Periodontal Disease. Replacing your missing teeth with dental implants can restore both functionality and aesthetics to your smile.

Uncomfortable Dentures

If you’re constantly dealing with discomfort from ill-fitting dentures, it might be time to discuss dental implant surgery with your dental team. Unlike dentures, dental implants are fixed in place, providing significantly greater stability and comfort.

Difficulty Chewing

Dental implants could be a great solution if eating certain foods brings about difficulties due to tooth loss or damage. As these act like natural teeth, you’ll find chewing much easier, improving your oral health.

Jawbone Deterioration

Losing teeth could result in a deteriorating jawbone due to lack of stimulation. Dental implant surgery can prevent further bone loss by creating the necessary stimulation, just like your natural teeth. Implant success rates are high in such situations, offering positive long-term success.

Facial Aesthetics

Changes in your facial structure due to missing teeth can make you appear older. Dental implants can help maintain your facial aesthetics, serving as successful replacements for your lost teeth.

Poor Oral Health

Conditions such as cavities, infections or oral diseases may indicate a potential need for dental implants. Resistant to decay, dental implants can dramatically improve your oral health over the long term.

Unstable Bridges

Dental implants could be an optimal choice if you have a dental bridge that doesn’t feel secure or causes discomfort. Dental implants offer a more stable solution by using titanium implants that merge with the jawbone during the healing process.

Speech Issues

Missing teeth can impact speech, affecting your ability to pronounce certain words or sounds. A dental implant, functioning as a stable false tooth, can fill in the gaps and enhance your pronunciation. Remember, a successful implant requires careful oral surgery and a proper healing process to prevent implant failures.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

  • Restore Confidence. Missing teeth can impact self-esteem and confidence, especially when it affects one’s smile or ability to eat certain foods. Dental implants provide natural-looking and healthy teeth that restore confidence in one’s appearance.
  • Improve Speech. Tooth loss can cause speech impediments due to gaps between teeth or ill-fitting dentures. Dental implants function like real teeth, allowing for improved speech and communication.
  • Long-Lasting. With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. This makes them a more viable option compared to other tooth replacement options, such as bridges or dentures, which you may need to replace every 5-10 years.
  • Prevent Bone Loss. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone begins to deteriorate over time. Dental implants act as artificial tooth roots, stimulating the jawbone and preventing bone loss.
  • Protect Natural Teeth. Dental implants do not damage or compromise neighboring teeth, unlike dental bridges, where a dentist will file down the adjacent teeth for support. It maintains the integrity of one’s natural teeth.
  • Eat Comfortably. Removable dentures can shift or slip while eating, causing discomfort and difficulty in chewing. Dentists anchor dental implants securely to the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for biting and chewing without worry.
  • Low Maintenance. Dental implants don’t require any special maintenance or cleaning procedures. Simply brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups are all you need to keep them healthy.
  • Customizable. Dentists can customize dental implants to match a person’s natural teeth’ color, size and shape. This allows for a seamless integration with one’s existing teeth, making them virtually indistinguishable.
  • Improve Oral Health. Unlike bridges or dentures, dental implants don’t need serious alterations or damage to surrounding teeth. They also make it easier to maintain good oral hygiene as they don’t trap food particles or bacteria like dentures can.
  • Better Quality of Life. Overall, dental prostheses provide a better quality of life for those who have lost teeth. They allow individuals to eat, speak, and smile confidently, improving physical and emotional well-being.

How Are Dental Implants Done?

Step 1: Pre-Surgery Assessment

The dental implant treatment begins with an oral evaluation where your dentist will consider the health of your teeth and gums and the strength of your jawbone. The dentist will also discuss your lifestyle and dental hygiene. You’ll move to the next phase if you’re a possible candidate.

Step 2: Planning and Preparation

The second step is the planning stage, where you get personalized treatment. This process may involve X-rays, 3D scans and molds to create an accurate model of your mouth. The goal is to ensure the implant will be a perfect fit.

Step 3: Implant Placement

The surgery starts with the dentist placing the implant into your jawbone. This small screw, usually made of titanium, is the new root for your tooth. It’s not as scary as it seems, as most patients report feeling minimal discomfort.

Step 4: Osseointegration

After the dentists finish placing the implant, the jawbone heals and grows around it in a process called osseointegration. This is an important step as it takes several months to heal and provides the stability needed for the final prosthetic.

Step 5: Abutment Placement

When the implant integrates with the jawbone, the dentist attaches a connector known as an abutment to the implant, which will support the crown. This minor procedure entails reopening the gum to expose the implant.

Step 6: Final Restoration

Once the gums have healed around the abutment, your permanent prosthetic (usually a custom-made crown) becomes screwed or cemented into place. This marks the completion of your dental implant procedure.

How Long Does a Dental Implant Last?

This is a common question many ask when considering this procedure. Dental implants can last for many years with appropriate care and hygiene practices. However, individual experiences can vary based on various factors, including oral health, lifestyle choices and general health conditions.

Thus, patients need to undergo regular check-ups and maintain good oral hygiene for the longevity of dental implants.

What Is The Cost of A Dental Implant?

It’s important to note that prices can vary depending on the location, dental office and the individual circumstances of the patient. Keep in mind to avoid below-average dental implant costs, as you may not get substandard treatment.

In the United States, you can typically expect to pay between $3000 and $4500 for a single tooth implant. This estimate is solely for the implant placement and abutment cost. Crowns can add $1000 to $3000, depending on the restoration’s material and complexity.

Remember that these figures are averages and don’t include the cost of related treatments or any additional preliminary work that might be necessary, such as bone grafting. The total bill can quickly reach tens of thousands of dollars for a full set of implants.

That’s why it’s better to talk to your dentist to get the entire breakdown of your treatment. They can even help you with your insurance coverage to lessen out-of-pocket expenses.

Don’t Let Missing Teeth Hold You Back—Talk to Our Professionals

Dental implants provide a powerful, long-lasting answer to the problem of lost teeth. They can be your life-changing choice, ensuring a confident smile and unhindered enjoyment of all foods. However, you must get professional advice regarding your suitability for this procedure.

Hopefully, you’ve got the answer to your question, “What are dental implants, and why are they used?” You can also reach out to our friendly staff at Wheatland Dental today. Let’s work together to reclaim your radiant smile together.