The Benefits of Dental Implants
Implants look, feel and function like natural teeth
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant consists of three parts: a titanium post inserted into the jawbone to replace the missing root, a porcelain crown that replaces the missing tooth and an abutment that connects the post to crown. An implant looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth. With proper care, an implant can last a lifetime.
Dental implants are the modern standard for replacing missing teeth and have many advantages over other tooth replacement options. Recent advances in dental science make it possible for most people to enjoy the advantages of dental implants.
Who are candidates for Dental Implants?
In the past, patients who had certain health conditions or habits were not considered to be candidates for implants due to the potential risk involved. People who lacked the amount of bone needed to support an implant were also ineligible.
Most patients can now receive implants due to the minimally invasive nature of modern implant placement and advancements in bone grafting and bone reconstruction.
The dental implant procedure doesn’t always require bone grafting, making implant treatment faster and more affordable than ever. People who smoke or who have conditions such as diabetes were formerly considered to be too high-risk to be candidates for dental implants. These people can also be treated safely, although the success rate is somewhat reduced because the healing process is inhibited.
Benefits and advantages of Dental Implants
Dental Implants can last a lifetime
With diligent oral care and regular checkups, dental implants can last a lifetime. The implant posts are comprised of titanium, a non-corrosive and long-lasting metal, or porcelain, which is equally durable.
Dental Implants behave like natural teeth
Patients frequently report that they can’t tell the difference between their natural teeth and the implanted tooth. They can bite and chew well, which gives them the option of eating the nutritious foods they need to be healthy, such as crunchy fruits and vegetables.
You can floss and brush as you normally would with dental implants, making it easy to maintain optimum oral.
Implants that are used to support restorations such as dental bridges and dentures are also very lifelike in look and function. Using the maximum amount of implants to support the restoration provides a stable foundation that feels very natural.
Dental Implants prevent bone loss
Jawbone deteriorates when a tooth and root are missing, because bone requires the pressure of chewing to maintain its density. In the first year of tooth loss, if no implant is placed, the bone beneath the missing tooth loses 25% of its volume and bone loss continues over the years.
Dentures can even accelerate loss of bone, as they are often loose and rub against the bony ridge, gradually wearing it away. Dental implants perform the chewing function of natural teeth and provide the stimulation necessary to maintain bone density. This is also true for implant-supported bridges or fixed (non-removable by the patient) implant-supported dentures.
Dental Implants keep adjacent teeth stable
Missing teeth leave gaps that can cause the surrounding teeth to shift due to the extra space. Shifting of teeth can cause misalignment, affecting your bite (the way your teeth meet). A misaligned bite can also lead to problems with your TMJ (jaw joint).
Dental Implants can help keep you free of gum disease
Gaps between teeth can act as traps for food and bacteria and can lead to gum disease.
Dental Implants can prevent facial sagging and premature aging
Since dental implants help prevent bone loss, they can also prevent facial collapse for people who have all or many of their teeth missing. Due to progressive bone loss caused by the missing teeth, the height between the tip of the nose and chin decreases, causing the lower third of the face to collapse. Changes include excess wrinkles around the mouth, drooping jowls and sagging skin, thinning lips and a more pointed chin, making the person look a lot older than his or her true age.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures
Stable teeth with good chewing power!
There are many downsides to wearing dentures. They are often unstable and slip when the wearer is talking or eating. Even dentures that fit well when first made soon lose their fit due to continual bone loss.
Eventually, it’s difficult to keep any denture stable due to wear on the bony ridges that dentures clasp onto. The most frustrating aspect of dentures and the problem that may lead to poor overall healthy is an inability to chew properly.
If you are deciding between traditional dentures or an implant-supported restoration, here are some things to consider:
- Dentures often have to be kept in the mouth by using a dental adhesive.
- Dentures have to be removed for cleaning. With the exception of a removable implant-retained denture, you can care for your implant-supported restoration with brushing and flossing.
- Dentures cover the roof of the mouth. Implant-supported dentures can be fabricated without a palate. Dentures cover the roof of your mouth and interfere with your sense of taste.
- Dentures can slip out while eating or speaking. Implants and implant-supported dentures are securely anchored and won’t slip out.
- It’s hard to chew with dentures, making it difficult to enjoy the foods you like or need. Dentures can move while you chew, which is annoying, and also makes it difficult to chew! In fact, dentures generally have only 10% or less of full chewing power. Dental implants have full chewing power and implant-supported bridges or dentures also considerably increase the chewing power.
- Dentures click while eating. With implants or implant-supported dentures, there’s no annoying clicking sound.
- Dentures don’t provide the stimulation needed to prevent bone loss. Jawbone needs to have the stimulation of high-pressure chewing to retain its density. Implants ensure no jawbone is lost.
- Progressive bone loss as a result of wearing dentures can cause facial collapse. Over the years, bone loss can cause the collapse of the lower third of your face, creating excessive wrinkles, sagging skin and jowls, thinning lips and a sunken-in look. This can considerably age a person’s appearance.
Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges
A bridge consists of artificial teeth supported by adjacent teeth that have been capped. It is used to replace one or two missing teeth.
Unlike dental implants, a bridge requires two healthy teeth to be shaved down and damaged. While dental implants may be a larger initial investment, they can last a lifetime, in comparison to bridges that last about five to ten years. Dental implants can actually cost less than bridges in the long run.
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