To a child, losing teeth may just feel like a rite of passage on the journey to adulthood, a sort of a ‘coming of age’ ceremony. As exciting as losing teeth may be to young kids, as grown-ups you may not share the same emotion. Losing teeth is not only a distressing blow for your self-confidence but can also affect your healthy oral tissues.
There is little to let this misfortune happen, and as scientists keep pulling for the next big thing, they may have just found the ultimate solution for tooth loss. For years, the only sound options available for patients of ghastly tooth loss were dentures and the occasional bridges.
While a denture may be your affordable dental companion to extricate you of your lonely teeth, it can be inconvenient to renew and may even cause you to be the butt of jokes in times of slip-ups. On the other end of the spectrum, bridges may play in your favor in terms of functional capabilities, but may constantly fail to keep up with your aesthetic goals.
If you do not fully feel an affinity with dentures or bridgework, are your options exhausted? Are you going to spend the rest of forever toothless or worse, with dental appliances that do not match your comfort? Of course not! Advances in prosthetic dentistry have made it possible to fill the spaces between dentures and bridges with sometimes more compatible with your oral needs.
Meet dental implants – a brand new way to say “YES” to a stunning and gleaming smile! Read on for everything you need to know to get your smile back.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed into your jaw to hold the replacement tooth, bridge, or overdenture. Implants provide a good foundation for the replacement teeth that are fashioned to match the color, texture, size, and shape of your natural teeth. A titanium post or screw is integrated into the jawbone (acting as the tooth root), upon which an artificial porcelain or zirconia tooth (acting as the tooth crown) is affixed.
A dental implant is typically comprised of three parts:
This is the screw that serves as the root of the new tooth. It attaches to your jaw and forms the basis of support to the would-be crown.
A permanent connector that is placed on the implant to support the crown in place.
A crown is a prosthetic tooth that adheres to the abutment and is visible inside the mouth. Made up of zirconium or porcelain, it provides brilliant strength, durability, and aesthetics to the user.
Implants are great options for people who have lost a tooth or teeth to the whim of periodontal disease, injury, or other factors. About 3 million people in the United States have dental implants, and another 500,000 implants are placed each year, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
What are the different types of dental implants?
Dental implants come in different sizes, heights, and types. Your implant dentist (called implantologist) helps determine the best option for you, depending on your particular needs.
The American Academy of Periodontology assert that dental implants are of two major types:
Endosteal implants (in the bone)
Most commonly in use, these dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative to bridges and removable dentures.
Subperiosteal implants (on the bone)
These implants are placed on top of the jawbone with the metal posts protruding through the gum to help adhere the prosthesis. These are mostly used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures due to minimal remaining bone height.
Today, metal-free Zirconia dental implants have also been rampantly growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. These implants tend to interact well with the bones and gums and offer a holistic solution for patients who want an implant that will also bear their overall health.
As you navigate through your choices for dental implants, you will also encounter some of the top players in this industry that are excellent in design and function. Some of these major dental implant brands we use are MIS, Nobel Biocare, Straumann, Neogen, and DioNavi.
How much do dental implants cost?
Dental implants are the closest you can get to healthy, natural teeth. Despite its highly sophisticated design, they aren’t all bells and whistles. Dental implants make for an incredible tooth replacement option that also doesn’t shy away from its extended durability and compatibility with the oral tissues. However, all these features don’t come easy. In the United States, a single dental implant can easily cost over $1,800 with the whole package costing you over $4,000, on average.
Talk about being heavy on your pocket! Are your dreams of getting a beautiful smile fading away with speed upon the price reveal? Don’t give up on your dreamy smile yet. Many people opt for less expensive options by getting their care abroad, getting their work performed at a dental college, or financing with an option like Care Credit.
What is the procedure to get dental implants?
Prior to the dental implant surgery, your implant specialists will examine your dental health to address your tooth replacement needs as well as create an individualized treatment plan for you.
During the procedure itself your implantologist will place the titanium post within your jawbone using a surgical-guided technology. You will be placed under local anesthetic to avoid any sensations of pain and discomfort.
The surgical site is then left to heal. The healing time is typically 3 to 4 months during which time the titanium post should fuse with the bone through a process called osseointegration.
Once healed, your new custom-designed crown is connected to your dental implant with an abutment head. Your new teeth will look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
Dental implants are critical dental prostheses and will require extensive post-surgical care. Smokers should quit because smoking can affect osseointegration, the process by which implant anchors to the jaw bone. For this reason, smokers face a greater risk of implant failure as compared to non-smokers.
What is the success rate of dental implants?
The development and use of implants are one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the last 40 or so years. Not only do dental implants satiate the functional requirements of a natural tooth such as for eating, talking, and chewing, they are also very long-lasting. Dentures and bridges have a worthy lifespan of 7 to 10 years and typically fail to give you the full experience. They often trick you to believe that your dream of a stunning smile may only be temporary, but not dental implants.
Dental implants have an average life expectancy of 25 years and over, owing to their strength and build. It may be due to this coupled with the fact that dental implants are superior in design that dental implants have a high success rate of 95%! It may truly be your best life investment!
What if I need to replace multiple teeth?
A dental implant is a way to go if you are looking to replace a single tooth. Nevertheless, in circumstances that demand multiple teeth replacements, you can still consider implants for the position.
Two dental implants will receive dental crowns on either side of the missing tooth space. This allows for the replacement of multiple teeth with only two dental implants on either side.
Implant-retained denture (All-on):
If you are missing most of your teeth in a single dental arch, your dentist can use the “All-on” concept to fix you up with a full set of pearly whites. 4, 6, or 8 dental implants will be placed in a single arch, which then receives a complete denture, successfully replacing the missing teeth.
Dental implants have created a new dimension in the restorative dental world. If you are looking for a dental solution that gives you immeasurable natural aesthetics as well as top-notch functional capabilities, don’t let dentures or bridges deny you the relief. With dental implants, you can finally get the picture-perfect smile you’ve always wanted.
Dr. Nandita Rana is a practicing dentist and content contributor for Apollo Medical Travel. Dr. Rana has a knack for creating content and writing diverse, reliable and helpful articles for all to engage in.