Dental Implants Are A Comprehensive, Long Lasting Tooth Replacement Solution
There are numerous tooth replacement options available, and they each have their own advantages. Some look better than others, some last longer than others, and some function better than others. Only dental implants have it all, combining excellent aesthetics, performance, and longevity.
Once placed, dental implants are a near-permanent solution, but you may be wondering whether an implant is right for you.
What Kind Of Patient Should Consider Dental Implants?
Dental implants serve an important medical and cosmetic role for patients. They don’t just restore the appearance of a patient’s smile – they also maintain the patient’s bite and jaw integrity. That could be important if any of the following are true:
- You are missing one or more teeth – As a top tooth replacement option, you should consider implants if you have one or more missing teeth. Implants restore form and function better than any other replacement option, so even if you are in good oral health otherwise, an implant can help ensure you stay that way.
The worst thing you can do if you’ve lost a tooth is nothing. Eventually, the underlying jawbone will deteriorate without the constant stimulation that comes with biting and chewing. Your jaw relies on those forces to keep building bone tissue, so once they’re gone, part of your jaw will go with it if those biting forces aren’t replaced.
- Your face is taking on a “sunken in” look – If your jaw is already beginning to shrink due to tooth loss, a dental implant may be able to stop the underlying loss of bone mineral.
As the jaw loses bone mass, the lower part of the face draws up and produces the kind of look we associate with the elderly. If you’re too young to wear that look, a dental implant can help.
- You have one or more damaged or infected teeth – Your dentist will do their best to rescue a damaged or infected tooth, but it’s not always possible. If tooth repair or crowns aren’t enough to preserve the tooth’s structure, an implant is the next best option.
There are a few stipulations before your dentist will place an implant, though. For one, dental implants are only an option for patients in good general oral health. If periodontal disease is present, it must be resolved before implants can be placed. Further, there must be sufficient jawbone mass to anchor the implant (as it’s placed directly into the jaw). Also, in some cases, people who smoke tobacco will not be able to receive an implant.
Four Reasons Why Dental Implants Are The Ideal Tooth Replacement Option
We’ve touched on when it’s time to consider dental implants, but why should you in the first place? Aren’t there options like dentures, bridges, crowns and veneers? There are, and they can be viable options for some patients, but here’s why many are skipping those and going straight to dental implants:
- Dental implants can be a permanent replacement option – On average, dental implants are expected to last about 25 years. That’s better than all other replacement options, and in many cases, this can be extended for several years. Proper oral hygiene (brushing with fluoride twice a day, flossing daily, regular dentist visits, etc.) will lengthen the implant’s lifespan, as will proper diet and abstaining from drinking or smoking.
- Dental implants stimulate tissue growth in the jawbone – Because dental implants are anchored in the jawbone, they transfer chewing and biting forces into the jaw. This stimulates tissue maintenance in the jawbone, preserving its structure.
- Dental implants look and function exactly like natural teeth – Dental implants are shaped and colored to look like the rest of the patient’s teeth. It’s impossible to tell the difference, even if you’re looking for it.
Implants also perform like natural teeth. They feel like natural teeth and they bite/chew like natural teeth. No more worrying about your dentures coming out while you eat.
- Dental implants preserve the stability of adjacent teeth – If a lost tooth isn’t replaced, teeth adjacent to the new gap will receive additional force during biting and chewing. Over time, this will cause additional wear and could result in permanent damage. Dental implants prevent this from occurring.
How Are Dental Implants Placed?
Dental implants are typically placed in stages, though single-stage implants may be preferred in some situations. Here’s a closer look at each process:
- Single-stage placement – Single-stage placement is only recommended for a small number of patients. If there isn’t sufficient bone for a multistage implant, for example, a single-stage implant may still work.
During single-stage placement, a longer implant is anchored into the jaw, with the top part of the implant exposed. Once the patient heals from implantation surgery, the abutment (connecting piece) and replacement crown are installed on the implant’s exposed top.
- Multistage placement – For the vast majority of patients, though, a multistage implantation process is preferred. First, the implant’s base is anchored into the jaw – nothing is left exposed. The area is allowed to heal for a few months and if everything goes as planned, the dentist will perform a second minor surgery to place the abutment on top of the base. After another round of healing, the replacement crown is quickly placed on top, no surgery required.
Multistage implants are the first choice for dentists because they make for a stronger, more stable tooth. With additional time to heal, the jaw is given a chance to grow into and around the implant’s base.
The Meyerland Family Dentistry Team Specializes In Dental Implants
Dental implants are a major step forward for dental health, allowing patients to achieve a like-natural look and feel with their replacement teeth. The implantation process is involved, though, and should only be handled by a certified and trusted dentist.
The Meyerland Family Dentistry team regularly provides our patients with dental implants. We know how to screen patients to determine who is a good candidate for implantation, and we know how to make the implantation process as safe and comfortable as possible. Whether you’ve just lost a tooth or have dealt with tooth loss for years, we can help you recover your smile with dental implant technology.