Replacing missing teeth is an important decision. Because your decision can affect your long-term health, appearance, and self-confidence, you want to make the best choice possible when considering which tooth replacement option is right for you.
Dental implants have become increasingly popular tooth replacement options for their many advantages over dentures and bridges. Despite their popularity, implants remain a mystery to many patients. You may have heard a lot about tooth implants from friends and family, but are unsure if what you’ve heard is fact or fiction. We’re here to clear up many of the popular misconceptions about implants so that you have accurate information to decide if an implant is right for you.
Before getting started, let’s clarify what a dental implant is. A dental implant is a screw-like titanium device placed in the jaw to bond with the bone to act as an artificial tooth root. The bonding process makes this device the closest approximation to a real tooth of any tooth replacement option. Once the implant heals, a crown is placed on the implant which looks and functions just like a natural tooth, independent of your other real teeth.
Now that you know the basics of dental implants, let’s talk about some of the more prevalent myths surrounding this procedure.
After the healing process is complete, dental implants are considered to be the most comfortable tooth replacement option available. You will become accustomed to the surface of the crown and the lack of nerve endings in the implant very quickly. Most of the time, you won’t even remember you have an implant.
Dental implants are as strong as natural teeth by design. Once the titanium implant has fully healed and bonded to the surrounding bone, it acts as a sturdy artificial root that will function as well as your natural teeth. You can feel as confident eating your favorite foods and brushing and flossing your teeth as you did before receiving your implant.
It is normal to feel nervous before any surgical procedure, but rest assured—implants are very successful dental procedures. Statistics from The National Center for Biotechnology Information indicate that dental implants have a 97% success rate, making them an excellent option for permanent tooth replacement.
Because the crown and gum completely cover the implant itself, the effect is very natural looking. The crown will be shaped and tinted to match your natural teeth so that it blends beautifully with the rest of your smile. And because the implants aren’t mobile, you won’t experience the clicking sounds that are often characteristic of dentures. The stability and natural look of dental implants ensure that you can smile, laugh, and eat without anyone knowing that they aren’t your real teeth.
Once the implant has completely healed and the crown has been placed, you care for it just as you do your real teeth. Brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist can keep your implant healthy for a lifetime.
Contrary to popular belief, dental implants actually preserve bone and encourage bone growth. This is important for your overall dental health and to maintain the longevity of your surrounding natural teeth.
You may be surprised to hear that dental implants are often the least expensive option for tooth replacement. While the initial price tag of dental implants is higher than dentures or bridges, it’s important to consider the overall costs of all of your tooth replacement options when deciding which method is the best value.
The bulk of dental implant cost comes at the time of placement. Dentures and bridges are less expensive initially but often require frequent replacement and maintenance expenses. Dentures require additional payments for fixatives and cleaners. Bridges require special care and rely on other teeth for support, which may become problematic and incur additional costs over time.
As dental implants become more and more common, an increasing number of dental insurers are covering part of the cost. Nowadays, you may even be able to negotiate with your insurer for an allowance equal to the coverage for bridges or dentures. This could make implants even more affordable for you.
Dental implants are the most durable tooth replacements available today. Unlike dentures and bridges, implants can be a sturdy lifetime tooth replacement with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
As with any surgical procedure, dental implants may cause slight discomfort. Many patients, however, feel that the pain level is less significant than with an extraction.
Your implant placement professional will ensure you are comfortable during the procedure by using local anesthesia. You may need pain medication for a brief period afterward, but most patients are surprised at how little discomfort they experience.
Unfortunately, permanent tooth loss can happen at any stage of life. As long as you are an adult with healthy gums and adequate bone to act as an anchor, you can choose implants for your tooth replacement. Your dentist can evaluate your oral health to see if you’re a candidate for an implant.
Now that you know the facts, you can decide if dental implants sound like the right choice for replacing your missing teeth. As it is a lifetime tooth replacement option, dental implants have become the treatment of choice for dentists and patients alike. They are durable, comfortable, and long-lasting tooth replacements with many benefits compared to bridges and dentures.
If you’re ready to replace missing teeth, schedule a consultation to discuss whether dental implants may be right for you. Dr. Boren can evaluate your oral health and put you on the path to restore your smile with the latest lifetime tooth replacement procedures.