Do you have missing teeth and are considering dental implants as potential replacements? Our Selkirk dentists explain what dental implants are and what some of the potential advantages and disadvantages are.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. Held in place with a tiny titanium rod implanted into the patient’s jaw bone, the implant serves as the root of the artificial tooth.
Titanium is used because this type of metal can bond with the bone. Titanium implants are very stable, secure tooth replacements. We then cap the dental implant with a dental crown, which looks like a natural tooth.
Together, the implant and the cap look and function just like your natural tooth.
Dental Implant Advantages
Dental implants offer several advantages, including:
Versatility of Dental Implants
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth in the upper or lower jaw. We can combine implants with other treatment options such as a bridge or denture.
Your specific case and requirements, in addition to the density of your jaw bone, will determine the number of actual implants you need/can get. Dental implants are a popular option for many patients as they have many potential configurations.
Dental Implants are Long-Lasting
Provided you properly care for your dental implant, it can last a lifetime. A proper at-home oral care routine is a must, as are regular visits to your dental office for cleanings and exams.
Other factors including nutrition, genetics or the development of dental diseases can also impact the longevity of your dental implant.
Dental Implants Have a Natural Appearance
As mentioned above, your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, will look and function just like your natural tooth.
No one should be able to tell that you have artificial teeth, and you can eat, speak and function as you did before while enjoying quality of life. Since there are no nerves in a dental implant, you will not feel sensations.
Instead, any feelings you experience related to your dental implant will actually come from the soft tissue around the implant. After your implant has healed and you’ve gotten used to it, you most likely will notice very little difference between your implant and your natural teeth.
No Special Tools or Care Needed
Similar to bridges, crowns or other restorations, you can care for your dental implants jus like your natural teeth. They’ll need thorough brushing and flossing, and your dentist will need to check them during your regular exams.
Dental Implant Disadvantages
Depending on the nature of your case, dental implants may not be for you. Here are some aspects of dental implants you may want to consider:
The Dental Implant Process is Lengthy
While dental implants may look and feel somewhat more natural than dental bridges, the dental implant process is lengthier and more invasive.
Depending on your treatment plan and your specific case, the entire dental implant procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 9 months to complete.
Dental Implants can be Expensive
Depending on your insurance coverage and your specific dental issue, the cost of dental implants can vary. While some insurance companies pay part of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants and still others may not pay for any part of it.
Check with your insurance provider to learn whether your insurance plan will cover your treatment.
You Will Need More Than One Procedure
In addition to the items above, you must have enough density in your jaw bone for the dental implant treatment to be a success. If you don’t, you may still be a candidate for the procedure but would require a bone graft to transplant bone to your jaw to support the implant. This would make the process longer and more invasive.
Are Dental Implants Right For Me?
While dental implants, bridges and other restorations all have their benefits, the right choice for you will depend on your oral health needs, budget and other factors.
Ultimately, you’ll need to discuss your case with your dentist to find out which tooth-replacement option would work best for you.