What’s So Special About Dental Implants?
Dealing with one or several missing teeth can be detrimental to anyone. It can affect your smile, confidence, and overall quality of life. Luckily, dental implants have made it possible for people to successfully replace missing teeth in a way that’s not noticeable. Replacing missing teeth isn’t new. Even the late President George Washington was known to wear wooden teeth replacements. However, dental implants are special and show how far tooth replacement has come. If you want to know exactly what makes a dental implant so special, read on for more insight.
How Implants Work
The implants themselves consist of a metal screw that a qualified dentist will place directly into your jawbone. The metal itself is usually titanium or titanium alloy. Unlike other tooth placement methods, this option is permanently seared into your jaw. When a dentist places the screws into a healthy jawbone they’ll adhere to your jaw over several months. Once your jaw has healed and accepted the implants, the caps or crowns go over those screws to give you a permanent tooth replacement.
Are you worried about extensive surgery during this process? There’s no need for that, as the actual surgery itself may only take about an hour. It’s also an outpatient surgery that allows you to go home afterward. The most time-consuming part of your dental implant surgery is the time it will take to ensure your jawbone accepts the implants, as it can take months for the adhesion process to complete.
Your Health Matters
Something else that sets implants apart concerns your existing health. Many understand how dental implants can add to your health and overall quality of life after successful completion. However, your level of existing health also matters before you get these implants. Other tooth replacement devices such as dentures and partials, don’t take into account your current health status. When you’re being fitted for dentures, your dentist will place the device over your gums and doesn’t need to worry about underlying bone. So anyone who needs dentures can get them but this isn’t the case for implants.
Don’t get your heart set on dental implants before you have a consultation with your dental specialist. Your dentist will conduct a thorough exam of your jawbone to see if you qualify for this type of surgery. Remember, the implant will directly go into that jawbone, and the dentist will observe how well the jaw will accept the titanium screws over a series of months. So, of course, having healthy bones matters. If there isn’t enough bone to support the implant, your dentist may need to conduct a bone graft. In some cases, the bone around the sinuses may need to be built up for implants going into the upper jaw, according to Forbes.
Existing lifestyle plays a role in whether you’ll be a candidate for surgery. Smokers aren’t good candidates because of the damage of nicotine. If people take certain medications that may affect their immune system, it may also be difficult for their jaw to successfully accept the implants. So people with these scenarios and underlying health conditions are less likely to be accepted for surgery.
More People Are Using Them
There was a time when dental implants were considered something only a few people could do. However, dental implant surgery has become a standard tooth replacement option. About 3 million people have dental implants and that number grows by 500,000 a year. What’s great about a dental implant is the accessibility factor. Older people no longer have to rely on dentures as they get older. People of all ages and scenarios, except young kids, can use this tooth replacement option. It’s more accessible to different types of people, and the results resemble natural teeth. It’s no shock that their popularity has grown. Today, you’re more likely to see an advertisement showcasing the benefit of dental implants as opposed to dentures.
Advantages Over Other Tooth Replacement Options
Dental implants are very special when you compare them to other tooth replacement options. For example, when you get dentures, you’ll have to replace those devices. Once the dental implants adhere to your jaw, they’re there permanently as long as you take care of your mouth with good oral hygiene. In other words, you don’t have to keep going back for dental implant surgery every few years.
When you have several missing teeth, it can affect the structure of your jaw and overall face. Have you ever noticed how someone with several or completely missing teeth appears to have a sunken mouth? Using a dental implant is not only a great way to replace missing teeth, but it can also save your jawbone. If you lose a tooth, the underlying bone can eventually wear away and deteriorate. Unfortunately, other dental replacement devices, such as dentures or partials, do not protect that underlying bone. In other words, these implants have a special ability to protect the overall structure of your face in a way that other replacement options can’t.
One of the main advantages of a permanent tooth replacement is that it’s just that, permanent! When you have dentures, you have to remove those devices at night and properly clean them in a dental solution. With implants, you don’t remove anything. Once they’re in your mouth, they will stay there. Since you don’t remove your implants, they’re impossible to lose. Unfortunately, with dentures, if you misplace them when you’re taking them out to clean or sleep, you might lose or damage them at some point.
It’s a Long Process
Another thing that makes dental implants unique is how long it takes to get them. While the process can be long, people understand the final efforts are worth it, which is why its popularity continues to increase. Unlike other tooth restoration, there are several steps involved after the initial consultation. If a tooth isn’t already missing but is severely damaged, an oral surgeon will remove the existing tooth. Depending on the health of your mouth, the oral surgeon may be able to insert the implant as soon as they remove any existing damaged teeth.
Once your existing teeth are removed, the oral surgeon inserts the implant and sends you home for healing. Don’t worry about the missing teeth in your mouth at the moment, as your dental specialist will give you a temporary denture or crown that goes over the area. You’ll be able to smile and eat in peace, just do so carefully. After a few months of healing and implant adhering to the bone, you’ll go back to your surgeon so they can add the abutment. The abutment goes on top of the implant itself, and that is where your future crowns will fit.
Caring for Your Implants
Once you have dental implants, you may wonder how to properly care for them. The answer is simple. You now have a permanent tooth replacement that is unremovable. So treat your implants as you would your normal teeth. As with normal teeth, you should brush twice a day, preferably after each meal if you have the time. You could still floss or use water picks. Keep using extra oral hygiene care such as mouthwash and tongue scrapers. At the end of the day, you must keep your mouth, teeth replacements, and gums as clean and bacteria-free as possible. If you’re not careful, you could still develop gum disease. Remember, your natural teeth have been replaced, but your gums and jaw bones are still the same. If you don’t care for your implants properly, it can have devastating results.
Paying for Implants
In the past, many people may have put off getting dental implants as they worried about paying for them since the cost came out of pocket. Luckily, if you have dental insurance, more and more plans now pay for this tooth replacement option. The amount of coverage you receive can depend on your dental insurance plan. However, you can get 100% coverage if dental implants are deemed medically necessary. According to VeryWell Health, the best dental implant plans include Anthem Essential Choice, MetLife for Veterans, United Healthcare Premier Plus, and Cigna. Of course, these are just some options for dental coverage for your implants. Your existing dental insurance may also provide majority or complete coverage for dental implants. Check with your provider for details.
Availability of Qualified Providers
There was a time when finding someone to perform your dental implant surgery may have taken a while. It may have once been easier to find such a service in a big city or particular state, but that is no longer the case. Finding a qualified practitioner to perform your oral implant surgery has never been easier. With the popularity of this procedure, more and more dentists have decided to make it their specialty. Some dentists specialize in other cosmetic procedures in addition to providing dental implants. Needless to say, the supply now meets the demand for patients. You can use the American Academy of Implant Dentistry to find an implant surgeon near you or check the credentials of one that you’re considering.
How Implants Impact Your Quality of Life
Implants can give you a quality of life you only dreamed of before. If you’ve lived with missing or broken teeth for a long time, you may have forgotten the benefits of having a nice smile. Having a beautiful smile can open doors for employment opportunities and socialization. If you’re single but afraid to date due to your missing teeth, a successful dental implant surgery can give you the smile you can’t wait to show off. Such a smile will give you the confidence to go up to that special person you have a crush on and ask them out on a date. Before you know it, you may hear wedding bells, or at the very least have the confidence to continue dating until you find the right one.
In the working world, a great smile makes a huge difference in being asked back for a final interview, getting the actual job, and later getting a promotion. Most companies can be very shallow about who they hire for certain positions. If you have a job dealing with the public and representing the company, looks matter. The better you look, and the more confident you are can impact your career. Being able to smile more will make you appear more friendly and approachable, and people will gravitate to you more with job opportunities.
Let’s not forget about diet. One of the downfalls of using dentures is unstable they are when someone is eating and talking. It’s easy for dentures to move around and slip out when somebody’s trying to eat a meal. Of course, it can affect the type of food that you eat since it’s hard to enjoy a juicy steak or crunchy apple with unstable dentures. However, after your successful dental implant surgery, you can enjoy feasting on several types of food again. The better you can chew your food, the better you’ll digest it. When you properly digest your food, you’ll get all the nutrients you need and energy to go about your day. Implants also let you eat those crunchy apples, carrots, juicy steaks, you name it. Be careful to not bite down on something too hard, like ice. Don’t use your new teeth to open bottles. Other than that, have fun, feasting on the foods you couldn’t enjoy when you had many missing teeth.
Well, there you have it. Now you have several reasons why dental implants are truly special. In the world of dental technology, missing teeth can affect one’s quality of life in many ways, such as diet, confidence, business opportunities, and more. As the number of dental implant patients grows by the thousands each year, more people understand just how special this tooth replacement option is. If you have one or several missing teeth, call Gainesville Dental Associates today! Our experienced and certified dental professionals can’t wait to help give you the smile you deserve.