Dental implants are a long-lasting solution for tooth loss and can help patients keep a confident smile and maintain dental health. Dental implants are actually metal posts that are placed in bone to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth, or to stabilize a denture. Once the implant process is complete and a prosthetic tooth is in place, dental implants are designed to look and feel like your natural teeth.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
When a tooth is removed or is lost, bone that previously surrounded the tooth begins to quickly reshape during healing. This results in a horizontal and vertical “dip” in the bone that can change the shape of the person’s face. Lips and cheeks collapse inward and the chin protrudes outward, leading to premature aging in the face.
Dental implants stabilize the bone and prevent bone loss. The bone bonds to the implant, creating a strong foundation to support tooth replacement options. Implant healing and treatment time can take from six weeks to six months, based on the individual patient. During healing, temporary crowns cover each implant. Once healing is complete, patients return to their general dentists who then prepare the permanent prosthetic teeth that are placed on the implants.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Improved quality of life
- Function, look, and feel like natural teeth.
- No more need for denture adhesives.
- Provide confidence when smiling, speaking, and eating which restores self-esteem.
- More comfortable and stable than dentures
- Natural biting and chewing are restored
- Stops bone deterioration, preventing premature aging
- Collapsing cheeks and lips can age a person 10 –20 years. Since implants preserve bone, your natural facial contours are supported which may prevent certain wrinkles.
- No impact on adjacent teeth (unlike a bridge)
- Implants represent a conservative treatment option. Since the adjacent teeth are left untouched, their long term health is unchanged.
- Removable partial dentures induce back and forth forces on teeth that eventually damage the supporting teeth, causing the partial denture to become loose.
- Never decay or require a root canal
- The body will not reject a dental implant
- Scientifically proven, long-term success for people of all ages
- The success rate in healthy patients regardless of age is ~ 98%.
- The success rate in patients with health concerns and/or smokers is ~ 94%.
- Implants have a track record of lasting 30+ years.
- A bridge usually lasts 7-10 years.
- Partials and dentures are functional for an average of only 5 years
Advantages Of Dental Implants Vs. Dentures And Bridges
Common options for tooth replacement are removable dentures and fixed bridges. Neither of these approaches preserves the bone, which will otherwise deteriorate and reshape a person’s face.
Effects of Removable Dentures
- Can be uncomfortable and painful
- Require adhesive as they become loose due to bone deterioration
- Prevent patients from eating certain foods (steak, apples, corn on the cob, etc.)
- Do not look natural
- Often lead to bad breath
- Affect a person’s confidence
Effects of a Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridge
- Healthy adjacent teeth have to be ground down to support the cemented bridge, leading to eventual bone deterioration.
- Gums can recede, exposing the metal base or collar of the bridge.
- Cement holding the bridge in place can wash out, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor the bridge.
Fixed bridges require crowns on adjacent teeth.
Dental implants provide stability.
Implants make it possible to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth. They also look better and are easier to keep clean than a bridge.
Implants and Dentures
As an alternative to removable dentures, implants can also be used to hold dentures in place. There are three basic options:
Supported Fixed Dentures
are permanent fixtures that serve as replacement teeth.
are secured to a custom support bar with clip attachments.
are secured in place to two or more implants with attachments.