What are Dental Implants?
Patients who have missing teeth have several available treatment options, one of the most common being dental implants. Additional treatment options include traditional dentures and dental bridges. While each of these are viable treatment options, dental implants are often recommended because they provide more durability, restore the natural aesthetic appearance of your smile, and do not require special hygiene modifications to maintain their health. The two types of implants that are approved by the American Dental Association are endosteal implants, which are surgically implanted into your jawbone and to which a post and artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached, and subperiosteal implants, which fixes a metal frame to the jawbone to which posts and the artificial teeth are mounted.
The process of dental implants begins with an initial evaluation and consultation to determine your viability. If your teeth have been missing for some time, there is a greater likelihood that you will have experienced some bone loss. To ensure there is sufficient bone to hold your implant, a bone graft or sinus lift may be performed. If you already have an adequate amount of jawbone, the procedure will begin with administration of an anesthetic to limit or eliminate discomfort. Next, a titanium post is placed in your jawbone. Once properly positioned, it will take between two to six months for the post to bond with your natural jawbone. During this time, you will be given a temporary tooth to wear. Once the post has fused, the crown can be placed and you can begin to enjoy your bright, full smile.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Having a dental implant placed can take quite some time and will cost a significant amount of money, compared to other treatment options. As such, it is important to consider the pros and cons of dental implants when deciding which treatment option to pursue.
Some of the pros of dental implants include:
- Creates a natural looking smile
- Long lasting solution that provides permanent results
- Can be cared for just like natural teeth
- Surrounding teeth do not need to be prepped or ground down
- Reduced risk of bone loss
- Feels like natural teeth
- Does not affect your speech
- Restores your ability to enjoy all types of food
Some of the cons of dental implants include:
- Multiple visits over a period of time
- Small risk of developing an infection
- May require additional procedures, such as a sinus lift and/or bone graft
- Costlier than dentures or other treatment options
To determine if dental implants are the right treatment option for you, schedule a consultation with your dentist or periodontist. This appointment will allow for them to evaluate your overall oral health and determine if there are any other underlying issues that need to be addressed and take diagnostic examinations to determine your viability for having dental implants. This is also a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have about what is involved during and after the dental implant procedure.