What are dental implants and why do people need them?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, which is placed in the patient’s jaw, allowing for a replacement tooth or bridge. Some of the more common reasons people require dental implants are because they’ve lost teeth due to injury or periodontal disease. They’re beneficial for a number of reasons, which we’ll outline below, but are especially valuable in preserving the jawbone.
How long do they last?
This varies from one patient to the next, but on average they last about 15 years. Proper care can help extend their lifetime significantly, so keep reading to learn more about how to best care for your dental implants.
I’ve heard there are alternate options, like crowns or bridges? What’s the difference between these dental options and dental implants?
Crowns: Unlike dental implants that replace the entire tooth, crowns act as a cap on an existing damaged tooth. In order to receive a crown, part of the tooth must still be rooted in place, meaning crowns aren’t an option for people whose teeth have fallen out. Crowns are usually replaced every 10-15 years.
Bridges: Receiving a dental bridge is an easier and quicker procedure than dental implants, but like crowns, they aren’t always the right option. A dental bridge is an artificial tooth that fills the space between two crowns and is usually recommended to patients with significant jaw bone loss or damage. Bridges are also replaced every 10-15 years
Benefits of Dental Implants
There are a ton of benefits that place dental implants in the spotlight. Here are just a few of the most commonly discussed benefits:
- Improved speech: Patients who have received dental implants notice significant improvements to their speech. This is because ill-fitting dentures often cause people to slur or mumble.
- Aesthetics: Dental implants look just like real teeth, giving patients a smile they can feel proud of.
- It’s easier to eat: As mentioned above, ill-fitting dentures can be frustrating to deal with. It’s not uncommon for them to slip, making it difficult for people to eat. Furthermore, dental implant patients can return to eating foods that require heavy chewing without worrying that their dentures won’t be able to handle it.
- Prevents jawbone deterioration: Dentures and dental bridges can actually lead to jaw deterioration or collapse. By replacing the tooth’s root when inserting dental implants, the jawbone is protected.
- Convenience: Just imagine, no adhesives, no removing dentures before bed, you can simply wake up each morning, ready for the day.
Are dental implants for me?
Dental implants can be sought by people of all ages depending on their situation. Simply put, they’re an option for anyone missing teeth. Nevertheless, there’s an ideal dental implant candidate and we’ve described this candidate below:
What does the process look like?
During the dental implant surgery, the dentist will make an incision to expose the bone. A hole is then quietly drilled into the bone, where the dentist will place a metal post (to act as the tooth root.) The gums are stitched closed and a few weeks is provided to allow for healing before a healing cap is placed atop the screw. The artificial tooth is then screwed into place. The gums are then closed over the implant and over the next few months, the dental implant will secure itself to the jawbone.
To learn more about the dental implant process, visit our dental implant page.
The ideal dental implant candidate:
- Is a non-smoker or is willing to quit smoking in order to undergo the procedure
- Maintains good oral health
- Does not currently suffer from any illnesses which may prevent or delay the healing process
- Has enough bone density to support the implants
- Is willing to commit to a 4 – 12month long process
- Has not undergone treatments requiring bisphosphonate medications
How to care for dental implants so they last
Alright, so you’ve chosen to go ahead and get dental implants.
- Step one: Brush twice a day, floss and use mouthwash, as per usual.
- Step two: Purchase low-abrasive tartar control toothpaste. Avoid brands that advertise “whitening properties.”
- Step three: Purchase a soft bristle toothbrush
Want to learn more about if dental implants are right for you?
Dr. Lui & Associates provide comprehensive, restorative, and cosmetic dental care in Calgary, Alberta. Give us a call to schedule an appointment or learn more about dental implants. You can reach us at 403-263-1346
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