Dental care has improved dramatically over the decades, yet millions of Americans continue to deal with tooth loss. This is mostly due to periodontal disease, injury, or tooth decay.
For many years your only option for treating a missing tooth was dentures or bridges. However, today, dental implants are the preferred treatment for filling that big gap in your mouth.
But What are Dental Implants Exactly?
Says a dentist in Minnetonka, MN, who currently practices at Glen Lake Family Dentistry, dental implant oral surgery is a popular and highly effective treatment for tooth loss. Dental implants are engineered to permanently replace the roots of missing teeth and can also be used as attachments to dentures, bridges, and dental crowns.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
According to a recent report by WebMD, dental implants have many advantages. They are said to include the following:
Improved Comfort: Since dental implants become a natural part of your mouth, they are more comfortable than dentures.
Improved Speech: If your dentures have been fitted poorly, the teeth slip, which will cause you to slur or mumble your speech. Implants eliminate that.
Heightened Appearance: Implants look and act like your own teeth. Since the root fuses with the jawbone, they are a permanent part of your mouth.
Eating is Easier: Dentures can limit your diet to softer foods since chewing is difficult. But since dental implants are engineered to act like real teeth, you can eat what you want, when you want, pain-free.
Heightened Self-esteem: In a word, implants give you back your smile, and that makes you feel better about yourself and your overall self-esteem.
Durability: Dental implants are built to last and are said to be durable enough to last for decades or even a lifetime.
Improved Oral Health: Your dental implant won’t require the reduction of other teeth like a tooth-supported bridge would. With nearby teeth unaffected by the introduction of a dental implant, they are left intact, which will improve your long-term oral health.
Individual implants are said to allow for easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
Improved Convenience: Since dentures are meant to be removable for cleaning purposes, they are largely inconvenient. It’s also embarrassing to have to remove dentures.
But dental implants eliminate teeth removal, and they also do away with the need for goopy adhesives.
Success Rate of Dental Implants
Say the experts, the success rate of dental implants can vary depending on which portion of the jaw they are placed. However, generally speaking, implants have realized a 98 percent success rate.
If you follow the right procedures for proper care and hygiene, they will last you a lifetime.
Who Is Eligible for Dental Implants?
Dental experts state that anyone healthy enough to undergo routine oral surgery and/or dental extraction is eligible for dental implant surgery. Patients require healthy gums and enough bone structure in the jaw to hold the implant in place.
The patient must commit to regular dental checkups and good daily oral hygiene practices. People who smoke heavily and who suffer from chronic disorders such as heart disease and diabetes must be evaluated by a dentist/oral surgeon on an individual basis. This also goes for patients undergoing radiation therapy to the neck/head area due to cancer.
If you are presently considering dental implants, it’s best to schedule a consult with a dentist near you.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Dental Implant Surgery?
One drawback to dental implant surgery is that it is presently not covered by dental insurance. However, your medical plan might cover the costs associated with dental implants, but this depends on the type of plan you are paying for and the cause of your tooth loss.
You should address your questions and concerns about issues with your insurance provider and dentist.
How Painful is Dental Implant Surgery?
Many people who have undergone dental implant surgery say there is little pain. However, some discomfort is associated with the “jawbone drilling” portion of the procedure.
Much like a routine tooth extraction, a local anesthetic can be utilized during the surgery. Or, if you feel like you’d rather experience no pain, you can ask your dentist/oral surgeon about general anesthesia. But keep in mind, general anesthesia is more expensive than local.
Once the procedure is finished, you will experience “mild soreness” for several days, especially when eating. But this can be easily treated with over-the-counter medications like Motrin, Advil, or Tylenol.
How to Care for Dental Implants?
You care for your new implant just like you would your natural born teeth. This includes brushing three times daily, regular flossing, using an antibacterial mouthwash rinse, and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash