A Concise Guide to Dental Implants

When dental problems arise, it can be a very distressing event for many individuals. Many dental conditions can cause pain. Additionally, they can be a source of embarrassment that affects an individual’s self-confidence. Cosmetic dentistry is a subcategory of dental practices that focus on restoring both the functionality and the cosmetic appeal of a person’s teeth and gums.

Recent statistics indicate that nearly 70% of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 are missing at least one tooth. Missing teeth can create serious issues with eating. In addition to this, they can also cause embarrassment if the empty space is visible to others. Dental implants have become much more popular in recent years as a means of correcting cosmetic issues involving missing teeth. What are dental implants and what is involved in the procedure of obtaining them? What are the possible risks of dental implants? The information below is designed to answer your important questions surrounding the topic of dental implants.

What are Dental Implants?

Since teeth are a vital part of the process of chewing food and gaining adequate nutrition, missing teeth can create a lot of long-term problems. Dental implants are a more permanent option for correcting the issues relating to missing teeth. Several decades ago, people who experienced missing teeth due to disease or trauma usually had no choice but to resort to dentures or partials to compensate for the loss.

Dental implants are surgically inserted posts generally made from high-grade titanium for long-lasting wear. These posts are surgically inserted below the gumline. Subsequently, the dentist will attach realistic looking replacement teeth to these permanent structures.

What is the Cost of Dental Implants?

Many people are initially deterred from inquiring about dental implants because they are fearful that they will be too costly. While dental implants may appear to cost much more upfront, they are actually more affordable in the long run. While cheaper options such as dentures exist, these options are not permanent and must be replaced many times when they wear out. This adds greatly to the cost of the other options over a period of time. Dental implants are an investment, but they will save you time, money, and discomfort in the future. The cost of dental implants can vary somewhat based on your geographical location, but they tend to average approximately $3,500 to $4,500 per tooth.

What is Involved in the Procedure of Obtaining Dental Implants?

Those considering dental implants are often curious about the series of steps involved in obtaining them. While this process may vary slightly between individuals and treatment facilities, the following steps are usually involved to varying degrees.

Removal of Damaged Tooth

If it is still present, the damaged tooth will be removed first. Sometimes patient’s seek dental implants due to trauma, in which case the tooth may already be missing.

Jawbone is Prepared for Surgery

In some cases, the jawbone may need to be surgically altered to prepare for the insertion of the titanium posts that will hold the replacement teeth. Since these posts are implanted directly into the jawbone, bone grafts may be necessary for some patients. If surgery is performed on the jawbone, it will be allowed to fully heal before additional steps are taken.

Dental Implant Posts are Placed

After the jawbone is completely healed, the dental surgeon will put the implant posts into place. This requires small incisions to be made in the gumline in the areas where these titanium posts are put into place. Following this step, another period of healing will take place before the next step is completed.

Molds of the Teeth are Made

After your mouth has healed properly, your dental surgeon will make molds of your teeth so that the replacement teeth can be made to cosmetically match the appearance of your existing teeth. Replacement teeth are made to order for each patient, so it may take several weeks or longer for your dentist to receive them.

Replacement Teeth are Attached

Once the replacement teeth have been received by your dentist, they will be permanently attached to the previously placed titanium posts. Your dentist may need to see you for follow-up appointments to ensure that everything has healed and the implants have been properly placed. It should also be noted that not all patients qualify for dental implants. Your jawbone must be healthy enough to sustain the insertion of implants, as well as thick enough to support them. Since this procedure is generally performed by an experienced dental surgeon, they will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.

While this may seem like a long and drawn-out series of events to some patients, the result is permanent replacement teeth that are comfortable and look almost identical to the patient’s existing teeth. This can provide a great deal of comfort and self-esteem to those who had been dealing with the stigma of missing teeth.

Are There Possible Complications Associated with Dental Implants?

Dental implants require a series of surgical interventions. As with any other surgical procedure, there are some risks involved. These need to be weighed carefully against the many benefits that can be obtained from dental implants. The most common risks associated with dental implants are listed below.

Infection

Infection can occur at the surgical site. This risk is minor as long as proper follow-up instructions are followed by the patient.

Damage to Surrounding Structures

In a small number of cases, injury or damage can be done to surrounding structures such as bone or blood vessels. Correcting these issues may require further surgeries.

Nerve Damage

Sometimes when a surgical procedure is performed, nearby nerves can be damaged in the process. This can lead to tingling or numbness in nearby structures. Nerve damage can be permanent. However, it often goes away after a period of time.

It should be noted that most patients do very well with this procedure and enjoy the outstanding cosmetic results that are achieved.

What is Involved in Caring for Dental Implants?

Caring for dental implants is not that different than caring for your original teeth. The most important thing is to keep them clean. Regular brushing and flossing is an essential step. At times, your dental surgeon may recommend the use of a WaterPik or similar appliance that can properly clean the smallest crevices in your mouth. This will allow you to maintain a beautiful smile for many decades to come. Aside from keeping your dental implants clean, you should avoid any actions that could lead to the breakage of the replacement teeth. Additionally, continue to see your dentist each year for proper maintenance. If any complications arise following dental implant surgery, you should consult your surgeon right away. Further surgery or other procedures are sometimes needed to correct these issues.

Dental emergencies along with various diseases can result in tooth loss. The loss of teeth can be a source of embarrassment and can drastically affect the overall functionality of the mouth. Today’s dental patients can take heart in the fact that dental implants now exist. These permanent structures can usually be used in place of less comfortable and more restrictive options such as dentures. Your dentist will be able to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants, as well as help you get started on your journey to a functional and beautiful smile.

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