Are Dental Implants Right For You? Everything You Need To Know
If you or someone you love has the desire to replace one or more of your teeth, you likely understand the potential sensitivity of the topic. Teeth are integral to so much of our daily lives, from showcasing our personality and confidence when we smile to making it possible to enjoy our favorite meals fully. It’s no wonder that individuals have always looked for the best solutions when it comes to replacing teeth.
Luckily, in the last 30 years, there has been a surge in the popularity and success of dental implants, the new and most effective way to reclaim the full functionality of your teeth. Currently, over 3 million individuals are living with dental implants in the United States alone, and that number grows by up to 500,000 per year. In this article, we hope to paint a detailed picture of this revolutionary procedure so that you can decide if it is right for you. 1
What Are Dental Implants
Dental implants can be thought of as the most reliable, durable option when it comes to securing new replacement teeth. The implants themselves are not teeth at all, but rather are artificial fasteners for meant to mimic the extraordinary strength of natural tooth roots. The implant is surgically fixed directly into the jawbone of the patient, where it then sits for upwards of a few months to set and fuse with the bone properly. This process is called osseointegration and allows the roots, and eventually, the adjoined tooth, to be self-supported and, therefore, not affect other nearby teeth. The artificial tooth that connects to the dental implant is known as a crown, which is custom made to match the individual's other remaining teeth and mouth. 2
Who Are Dental Implants For?
Dental implants are considered the gold standard option for anyone who has lost one or more teeth and is looking for a long term replacement solution. Dental implants are especially popular among older people who may have lost their teeth due to decay or gum disease. In the past, dentures have traditionally been used. Still, the vast majority of people much prefer the durability and permanency of implants as opposed to the inconvenience of relying on teeth, which are removable and potentially challenging to manage. Further, many people report that their ability to taste and enjoy their favorite foods fully is diminished with dentures, which is not the case with dental implants. 3
Advantages Of Dental Implants
There are several distinct advantages to choosing dental implants over other options, such as dentures or a cemented crown option. The most obvious benefit of having dental implants is the fact that they are permanent. The potential for undesired movement of dentures often creates problems for individuals when it comes to speech and eating. These issues should not only be considered at face value; additionally, there is a risk of lower self-confidence and self-esteem resulting from the lack of predictability with dentures.
Further, dental implants are considered to be more comfortable and low maintenance because they are permanent and don’t have to be removed. Also, implants allow for improved oral health because they are specifically created to fit in the mouth without causing crowding or requiring that other teeth be affected. In this sense, the extra space from a lack of overcrowding allows for all teeth to be maintained and cleaned more effectively.
Lastly, dental implants have a better ability to mimic your teeth. When done by a professional, they not only look better but give the feel of actual teeth. Most individuals who get dental implants report feeling more confident to live their life as they usually would, no longer hindered by self-esteem issues and the fear that they may not be able to always rely on their dentures or cemented crowns. 4
Dental Implant Procedure & Recovery Time
If you are interested in getting dental implants, you’ll quickly realize that there is a bit of a process of doing so. The first step is to seek out a dentist who is trained in oral surgery and specifically in restorative dentistry. They will provide an initial consultation and, if you collectively decide that implants are the best option, will move forward with creating an individualized treatment plan.
The first step of the procedure involves the implant placement, which will mimic a natural tooth’s roots. The implant, a titanium piece of metal similar to a small screw, is placed into the missing tooth’s bone socket in the jawbone. The implant is then left alone as it heals and fuses, with the jawbone eventually growing around the implant and securing it permanently. This process typically takes between 2 and 3 months.
The next step is for a small connection piece, called an abutment, to be fastened to the implant. This abutment is what will connect and bridge the new crown (artificial tooth) to its respective implant.
The last step is for the dentist to create the new replacement crowns for you individually. Matching the color and using a bite impression to model your perfect crown accurately, the dentist has the teeth designed uniquely for you. These are then attached to the abutment, completing the process and giving you the function and appearance of a brand new mouthful of teeth! 5
Cost Estimate For Dental Implants
The cost for dental implants can vary significantly depending on the number of implants needed and the underlying condition of your jawbone, gums, and other adjacent teeth. Unfortunately, dental implants are not covered by most medical or dental plans, which opt for less expensive solutions like dentures. Implants for individual teeth can range in cost from $1,500 to $6,000, depending mainly on the external factors that were just mentioned. For an entire mouth, implants can often range between $30,000 and $50,000. The high costs associated with implants are primarily to the medical expenses of a dentist and also of receiving anesthesia. It’s important to remember when considering costs that implants require multiple procedures, thus driving up the price. 6
Dental implants can be a game-changer for those who are looking for a more permanent, reliable, and great-looking solution when it comes to replacing lost teeth. The procedure itself and the costs associated can be a barrier to entry for some; however, the results that come of it are considered by most who go through with it to be worth the price. If you are looking for a long term solution to missing teeth, dental solutions are indeed the gold standard. It’s no wonder over 3 million Americans have opted for the procedure, and many thousands more are joining them every month.
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