Considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option? Our Cambridge dentists explain what they are, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of this common dental procedure.
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. Held in place with a tiny titanium rod implanted into the patient’s jaw bone, the implant serves as the root of the artificial tooth.
Titanium is used because this type of metal can bond with the bone. Titanium implants are very stable, secure tooth replacements. We then cap the dental implant with a dental crown, which looks like a natural tooth.
Together, the implant and the cap look and function just like your natural tooth.
The Advantages of Having Dental Implants
For many people, dental implants can be an ideal tooth replacement option. Some of the advantages of dental implants include:
They Are Versatile
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw depending on whether your implants are paired with a single crown, a bridge, or an implant-supported denture.
Your specific requirements, in addition to the density of your jaw bone, will determine the number of implants you will be able to get. Dental implants are a popular option for many patients as they have many potential configurations.
They Are Long-Lasting
If properly cared for your dental implant could last a lifetime. A proper at-home oral care routine is essential, as are regular visits to your dental office for professional cleanings and exams.
Other factors that will influence the longevity of your dental implant include nutrition, genetics or the development of dental diseases.
They Provide A Natural Look & Feel
As mentioned above, your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, will look and function much like your natural tooth.
Most people will never be able to tell that you have artificial teeth, and you will be able to eat, speak and function as you did before while enjoying quality of life.
There are no nerves in a dental implant, so you will not feel sensations from the implant itself. Instead, any feelings you experience related to your dental implant will come from the soft tissue surrounding the implant.
Once your implant has fully healed and you’ve had some time to get used to it, you will likely notice very little difference between your implant and your natural teeth.
They Are Easy to Care For
Similar to bridges, crowns or other restorations, you can care for your dental implants jus like your natural teeth. They’ll need thorough brushing and flossing, and your dentist will need to check them during your regular exams.
Potential Disadvantages of Dental Implants
While dental implants can be an ideal tooth replacement for some patients, they aren't suitable for everyone. Depending on the nature of your case, dental implants may not be right for you. Here are some aspects of dental implants to consider when making your decision:
Implantation Can Be A Lengthy Process
While dental implants may look and feel somewhat more natural than dental bridges, the dental implant process is lengthier and more invasive.
Depending on your treatment plan and your tooth replacement needs, the dental implant procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 9 months to complete.
The Cost Might Be Prohibitive
Depending on your insurance coverage and your specific dental issue, the cost of dental implants can vary. While some insurance companies pay part of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants and still, others may not pay for any part of it.
Give your insurance provider a call to find out whether your plan will cover dental implant treatment for your smile.
Additional Procedures Could Be Needed
In addition to the items above, you must have sufficient jaw bone density in order for dental implant treatment to be successful. If your jaw is thin or weak, you may still be a candidate for the procedure but bone grafting will be necessary to help strengthen the bone to support the implants. This would make the process longer and more invasive.
How do I know whether dental implants or other options are right for me?
While dental implants, bridges and other restorations all have their benefits, the right choice for you will depend on your oral health needs, budget and other factors.
To find out which tooth replacement option is right for you contact your dentist. Following a comprehensive examination of your teeth, gums and supporting oral structures, your dentist will be able to work with you to decide which option is right for you.