Dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular dental treatment for many. But what exactly are these implants, and why have they seen such a surge in popularity? In short, they are a way of restoring natural-looking and strong teeth to people who have lost them through decay, disease, or injury. Read on to learn more about dental implants and why they are becoming so popular.
What are Dental Implants?
The first thing to cover is what dental implants are. Dental implants are surgically implanted into your jawbone and serve as prosthetic roots for replacement teeth. Generally, these implants are made from titanium and are physically fused to the bone. This attachment means that dental implants are unlikely to slip, be noisy, or cause damage to the jawbone during use.
The roots are then attached to a replacement tooth, which is tailor-made to match the shape, size, and color of your natural teeth. The bespoke nature of these makes them inconspicuous, and the solid base of support also makes them durable.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants can be hugely beneficial for many people who require replacement teeth. However, to understand these benefits, we need to know what the alternatives are.
The conventional way of replacing lost teeth is to use dentures or bridges. The problem with these methods is that they can often fit poorly into the patient's mouth and might not even be an option where the natural root structure of the lost tooth is too damaged.
Dental implants have myriad advantages over these tooth-replacement techniques. First and foremost, they tend to look better. The implants are modeled on the patient's natural teeth to look and feel like the real deal from their perspective. Additionally, because they are physically fused into their mouth, the replacement is permanent, whereas bridgework or dentures often need to be tinkered with.
On top of this, dental implants can also bring some quality of life benefits for patients. For example, they do not disturb speech as much as dentures might. Often, dentures are not a perfect fit in the mouth, leading to them slipping around and causing slurred speech. Because the implants are rooted using titanium, they are solid and will not move around, solving this problem. Additionally, this robustness can improve the comfort of the replacement teeth compared with dentures.
Dental implants also perform the primary role of teeth better than other options. They are much more comfortable and practical for eating! This comes down to the movement that can is often experienced while wearing dentures. When these slip around the mouth, it can make chewing food harder. Dental implants function just like your original teeth, so you can eat what you like without fear.
One significant advantage of dental implants, though, is that they can improve oral hygiene. This is because tooth replacement techniques like bridges require the surrounding teeth to be reduced to accommodate the bridge. Since dental implants do not need the surrounding teeth to be altered, they will not cause damage to other, healthy teeth. In the long term, this means that you are less likely to have further dental issues.
What is the Process of Getting Implants Like?
Before you can get any implants, you will need to talk to your dentist about developing a personalized treatment plan. Here, you will sit down with a professional and discuss what you would like to achieve by getting the treatment, and they will figure out the best way to reach this goal. Generally, a team of dentists will devise this plan, with specialists who have different areas of expertise collaborating to find an option that works best for you.
The next stage of the treatment is to get the root implants installed. These are little titanium pegs that are inserted into a socket in the jawbone. The incredible thing about this method of tooth replacement is that the jawbone will naturally heal around the pegs, giving it a strong anchor point in the mouth.
After implantation, the healing process can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks, after which it will be time to install a connecting piece to the titanium implant post. The dentist will then make a mold of your mouth to reference what size and shape the replacement tooth will need. Once the replacement tooth has been designed and formed, it is attached to the connecting piece. After this final stage, the crown will last years without replacement or significant maintenance.
Who Can Get Implants?
If this treatment sounds good to you, you might be wondering whether you can have it done yourself. For the most part, the procedure can be done on anybody deemed fit to undergo oral surgery and tooth extractions. Your gums will also need to be healthy enough to withstand the surgery, and your jawbone will need to be capable of healing and holding the implant.
Some things will require deeper consideration depending on the individual. For example, if you are a heavy smoker or suffer from a chronic ailment like diabetes or have heart problems, you need to factor these issues into a treatment plan.
Ultimately, however, only a professional dentist can decide about treatment plans and what might prevent you from getting implants. Therefore, you should contact your dentist to discuss your options.
The dental implant is not a solution for missing teeth in children; the pediatric solution for missing baby teeth could be space maintainers.
Where Can You Get the Treatment?
Like any dental procedure, you should seek a reputable dentist with experience in performing the surgery. More and more dental clinics offer implants, but you should research whether it is available at yours.
If your practice doesn't provide implants or your dentist lacks the necessary experience, you should look for a more reliable option. You can find such options online, like Pure Dentistry, a dentist in Brisbane specializing in various treatments, including dental implants. Failing this, you could ask for a specialist referral from your current dentist.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
The main drawback of dental implants is that they require invasive surgery that takes a reasonably long time to recover from. Alongside this, the upfront cost of the procedure can be expensive, especially if there are complications with the surgery. However, in the long term, the treatment is usually more cost-effective than other options.
Overall, dental implants are one of the better options when it comes to tooth replacement. The surgery to place the titanium pegs has a success rate of up to 95% (although the crowns will likely need replacing every 10-15 years). Also, implants' natural feel and bespoke nature significantly impact the patient's quality of life as they require less maintenance and do not impact speech or eating.
The positive aspects of this treatment significantly outweigh the negatives. If you require tooth replacements, then it is an option worth exploring. They are long-lasting and do not cause issues with speech or eating when properly installed. Older methods of tooth replacement can be awkward and uncomfortable and can cause knock-on issues to your healthy teeth. With the increased availability of the treatment and the myriad of benefits it offers, it is worth exploring this option with a dentist or specialist near you.