Dental implants have completely changed the field of dentistry, offering a better way to enhance the appearance and functionality of your smile. Here, we’ll cover the most-asked questions about dental implants, from understanding the surgery to the numerous benefits. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of what dental implants are and how they can benefit your health. So, let’s dive in and discover the seven essential things everyone wants to know.
What are dental implants?
First of all, you probably want to know exactly what they are. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines dental implants as “medical devices surgically implanted into the jaw.”
They are artificial tooth roots made of biocompatible materials, usually titanium, that provide a permanent and secure foundation for replacement teeth. The dental implants fuse with the jawbone to ensure stability and durability. This unique design allows standalone support without relying on adjacent teeth or resting on the gums like traditional dentures or bridges.
Dental implant surgery is not complicated
Contrary to what you might think, dental implant surgery is not a complicated procedure. Thanks to advancements in dental technology and the expertise of skilled professionals, the process has become highly streamlined. It is typically performed in a dental office or specialized clinic under local anesthesia. There are a few different types of replacements, but each one is fairly straightforward.
- Single-tooth replacement: For single-tooth replacement, the first step is the surgical placement of a dental implant into the jawbone. This titanium post serves as an artificial tooth root. After the implant integrates with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration, which typically takes a few months, an abutment is attached to the implant. The abutment acts as a connector between the implant and the prosthetic crown. Finally, your custom-made tooth is placed onto the abutment.
- Multiple-tooth replacement: In the case of multiple-tooth replacement, the process may involve placing multiple dental implants across the jawbone. These implants serve as anchors for the prosthetic teeth. Similar to a single-tooth replacement, abutments are attached once the implants have integrated with the jawbone, and custom-made crowns or bridges are affixed to the abutments.
- Implanted dentures: For those requiring implanted dentures, the process may involve several dental implants to provide a foundation for the denture appliance. The number of implants required may vary depending on your particular circumstances. Once the implants have been integrated, the dentures are attached to the implants.
Dental implant surgery is not dangerous
When it comes to dental implant surgery, safety concerns are often unfounded. Dental professionals with specialized training and experience perform the surgeries. Therefore, they have a high success rate and are considered safe and well-established in the field of dentistry.
During the surgery, local anesthesia is used to numb the area to minimize discomfort. And advanced techniques and tools are used to ensure the precise placement of the dental implant. Additionally, rigorous sterilization protocols are followed to maintain a sterile surgical environment and prevent infection.
After the surgery, you’ll receive post-operative care instructions to minimize potential risks. Your dental professional will also monitor your progress during follow-up visits. This ensures the success and longevity of your dental implants.
It is important to remember that, like any surgical procedure, there may be some potential risks or complications associated with dental implant surgery. However, these are rare, and with proper planning, preparation, and expertise, dental implant surgery is considered a safe and reliable option for replacing missing teeth.
Dental implants look like natural teeth
Dental implants offer the benefit of closely resembling your natural teeth. The custom-made prosthetic tooth, or crown, is carefully designed to match the color, shape, and size of your existing teeth, resulting in a seamless and natural-looking smile. High-quality materials like ceramic or porcelain are used, providing a lifelike translucency that mimics how light interacts with natural teeth.
Dental implants are essentially as strong as natural teeth
Thanks to the use of high-quality materials like titanium for the implant and ceramic or porcelain for the crown, dental implants’ strength is very close to that of natural teeth. They can withstand the forces of biting and chewing so that you can enjoy a normal diet without restrictions. Fusing the implant and the jawbone creates a stable foundation like natural roots. They are highly functional and extremely durable.
Dental implants are easy to take care of
Dental implants are incredibly easy to care for, requiring the same maintenance as natural teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and mouthwash help keep the implant, gums, and remaining teeth clean and free from plaque. Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants don’t need special adhesives or removal for cleaning, and they do not restrict your diet. Regular visits to the dentist for check-ups and cleanings help to ensure the long-term success of your implants.
Dental implants help protect you from bone loss
One of the most valuable benefits of dental implants is that they help prevent bone loss in the jaw. By acting as artificial tooth roots and fusing with the jawbone, they provide stimulation that helps maintain bone density. This prevents the sunken appearance often associated with tooth loss and preserves facial structure. Dental implants also evenly distribute your chewing. This promotes healthy bones and ensures long-term bone volume and strength preservation.
Dental implants provide health benefits
Dental implants provide a range of health benefits beyond their aesthetic and functional advantages. They help maintain tooth alignment, preventing neighboring teeth from shifting and reducing the risk of dental issues. Also, dental implants preserve bone density and facial structure by stimulating the jawbone through osseointegration. They also improve speech clarity and support a varied and nutritious diet by enabling comfortable biting and chewing.
How much do implants cost?
The exact cost of dental implants can vary depending on several factors. These include the stages required, the number of implants, pre-surgery testing, and materials. To get a more accurate estimate for your dental implants, you should consult with a dental professional who can assess your specific needs and provide a detailed breakdown of the associated costs.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are known for their durability and can last a lifetime if properly cared for. Implants fuse with the jawbone at the beginning of the process, creating a strong foundation. While certain factors can shorten their lifespan, such as poor oral hygiene and overall health, dental implants are designed to withstand the same use as normal teeth.
Who does dental implants?
Dental implants are performed by qualified and experienced dental professionals, specifically oral surgeons or periodontists. These specialists have advanced training and expertise in implant dentistry. We recommend you consult with us today to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs and ensure a successful dental implant procedure.
Russell, Anne M. (2023). Dental Implants: What You Need to Know.