Dental implants can restore your smile.
Are you missing one or more teeth? If so, your dentist may recommend dental implants. This is a type of restorative dental treatment that can replicate your natural teeth, rejuvenate your smile, and help you chew and speak more comfortably.
If you’re considering this option, it’s important to understand the basics behind the procedure. Today, we’re sharing 10 important facts about dental implants that you should know!
1. Dental implants fuse with your jaw.
When we talk about dental implants, it’s important to keep in mind that the actual implant isn’t shaped like a tooth; rather, it’s a titanium post similar in shape to a screw. The implant is meant to serve as an artificial tooth root. When your dentist places it into your jawbone, it will fuse with the natural bone through a process called osseointegration.
Derived from two Greek and Latin terms meaning “bone” and “to make whole,” osseointegration usually takes between three and six months. During that time, the connective tissue in your jawbone connects directly with the implant.
When this process is complete, your dentist will place a custom-made crown designed to look and operate as a natural tooth, on top of the implant. A separate piece called an abutment fits between the implant and the crown to hold everything firmly in place.
2. Dental implants keep your jaw strong.
Dental implants are the only restorative dentistry option that effectively preserves your natural bone. In time, this stimulates new bone growth and helps prevent further tooth loss.
Another feature that contributes to jawbone stability is the use of titanium. Considered to be the most biocompatible metal, titanium generally performs well when it interacts with your body’s internal tissues. While the ongoing presence of some other metals could cause adverse reactions, you’re actually supporting bone and tissue health with a titanium implant.
3. They’re permanent.
Implants aren’t meant to be taken in and out, as you’d expect with conventional dentures. Rather, once osseointegration occurs successfully, they serve as a permanent restorative treatment. As long as you take care of them, they can last you for years!
4. Dental implants look and feel natural.
The only way someone will be able to tell that you have a dental implant is if you tell them!
The crowns that fit on top of your implants will be specially made to match your surrounding teeth and look as natural as possible. Your dentist will use a model of your mouth to create the crown, and it will fit perfectly with the rest of your teeth. The result is a seamless, streamlined look that beautifully complements your facial features.
5. They can’t get cavities.
It’s true! You can’t get a dental cavity in an implant. This is because it’s made of materials that cannot decay; however, that doesn’t mean that you can neglect the tooth.
Remember: The areas around the implant are still vulnerable to decay. It’s important to stay on top of your dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing two times a day will keep your teeth and gums healthy. Regular visits to your dentist can also help keep your implant in great shape!
6. Success rates are high.
One of the reasons why dentists recommend dental implants is their high success rate. Studies have shown that implants are around 98% successful!
There are many factors that can affect this success rate, including your eligibility and overall health. However, it remains one of the most viable and effective treatment options for missing teeth.
7. Dental implants are comfortable.
Dental implants are inserted directly into your jaw, right in the space where a missing tooth would be. Due to this precision, they will not slip out or move around.
This makes them more secure and comfortable than other restorative options, such as dentures. It’s also easier to eat and speak with an implant. You can chew properly and confidently, without worrying about the strength of the prosthetic. In fact, you may find that you can now eat some foods that you were previously avoiding!
8. They offer cosmetic enhancement.
One of the best features of dental implants is their ability to enhance your smile! If you’ve been feeling self-conscious about your missing teeth, you’ll appreciate and enjoy the new look they provide. With their natural appearance and excellent fit, implants are a great first step toward a longer-term plan to improve the aesthetics of your teeth.
9. Dental implants support other teeth.
If you’re missing a tooth, the teeth adjacent to your gap can begin to move inward over time. As these teeth become displaced, you can experience cosmetic changes and discomfort. It can also lead to pain in your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ.
By filling in that space with a dental implant, you can help keep your other teeth in place. This prevents them from shifting unnaturally. Not only does this ward off long-term tooth pain, but it can also help you avoid signs of premature aging. Missing teeth can cause your jawline to move and sag, which can make you look older than you are.
10. Dental implants prevent disease.
If left untreated, a gap from a missing tooth can negatively affect your oral health. Food, bacteria, and other microorganisms can easily become trapped in this space. In time, this can trigger inflammation and gum disease. Even if you’re careful to brush and floss regularly, a long-term gap still carries this heightened risk. A dental implant will eliminate that space and help keep your gums healthy.
Learn More About Dental Implants
Now that you know a little more about them, are you interested in talking to your dentist about dental implants?
Dr. May is well-versed in the most advanced techniques of implant dentistry and earned an associate fellowship from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. You’ve chosen a great place to learn about this restorative dentistry treatment! Our team is well-versed in every aspect of this procedure and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Schedule an appointment today!