A Comprehensive Guide to Dental Implants
When a baby smiles at their parents for the first time, everything stops. The parents want to see this smile again and will do everything to make the baby grin. Every human across the globe recognizes a smile as a friendly gesture, and smiling makes a person more attractive to others. According to South Florida Reporter, the average woman smiles 62 times a day. In contrast, the average male only shares his grin eight times a day. When a person has missing or failing teeth, these numbers likely decline, and it hurts the individual in personal and business relationships. What options does a person have when they have one or more missing or failing teeth and refuse to smile as a result?
Table of Contents
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants serve as artificial tooth roots. Dentists place the implant, which resembles a screw, into the jawbone where it fuses with the individual’s natural bone. This implant provides the foundation for a crown or artificial tooth. Once the implant fuses, the dentist places an abutment or connector on the dental implant, and this connector holds the crown. Dentists work to ensure the crown matches the natural teeth and fits properly in the mouth. In use for over 30 years now, modern dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Patients can learn more by visiting rincondentistry.com.
People often assume dental implants are a recent invention. In fact, archaeologists found pieces of shell hammered into the jaw of a Mayan woman dating back to 600 AD, so ancient humans used them.
P.I. Branemark, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, discovered titanium fuses with human bone back in 1952. He learned this while working to treat patients with knee and hip problems. However, he turned his focus to the mouth and researched the uses for titanium in treating oral health issues.
Today, approximately three million individuals in America now have one or more implants, and this figure increases by half a million every year.
Who Benefits from Dental Implants?
Dental implants benefit any adult who is missing one or more teeth or is in danger of losing a tooth. Implants replace teeth lost to infection, decay, or injury along with those teeth that never came in as they should. Most dentists only offer implants to adults 18 years of age and older. However, some dentists allow implants in girls 16 years of age or older. The dentist looks to see if the child’s facial growth and development have finished. This doesn’t occur in boys until 18, at which point they may get the implant as an adult.
Individuals with dentures find they suffer from bone loss. Dental implants resolve this issue, as they replace the natural tooth root and stimulate bone growth. Patients need to see their dentist as soon as possible after losing a tooth to minimize bone loss. If this bone loss already occurred, they may need a bone graft to provide support for the implant.
The implants last a lifetime. In contrast, dental bridges must be replaced every five to ten years. While implants cost more at the time of installation, the patient saves money in the long run.
People who choose dental implants find they can eat and speak with confidence. There’s no concern about the implant slipping or clicking as you talk, and you can eat any food with ease. Patients with implants report their speech is more natural than it is with dentures, and these are only a few of the benefits. Ask the dentist to share more when you go for a consultation.
What Should Patients Expect?
Patients must understand the dental implant placement process. First, the patient meets with the dentist to discuss whether an implant offers the best solution. If it does, the dentist places the implant in the jawbone during the next visit, and patients find this procedure to be pain free and easier than they expected. As with any dental surgery, patients may expect some bruising and swelling along with slight pain. Most men and women find over-the-counter pain medications are enough to manage their symptoms.
After this visit, the healing process begins. The implant and jawbone fuse in a process known as osseointegration, which provides the foundation for the implant. Rushing this process puts the implant at risk, so the patient goes about normal life waiting for the process to move forward. Once the implant and jawbone properly fuse, the dentist places an abutment or connector just above the gumline and places the crown or bridge.
The patient cares for the implant just as they do their natural teeth. This includes cleanings, checkups, and more. Speak to the dentist about the best home care routine, as you have spent months carrying out the implant process. You don’t want this time and money going to waste because the implant failed due to a lack of care.
Men and women need to speak to their dentist to learn what they need with their implant. For instance, some patients lack the bone structure needed to support the implant. In this situation, the dentist performs a bone graft to provide the necessary structure. Other patients need a sinus lift as the natural bone is deteriorating because of one or more missing upper teeth in the back of the mouth. Finally, a ridge expansion helps those whose jaw is too narrow to support a dental implant. The dentist determines if they need any of these procedures for the implant to be successful.
Men and women need to consider dental implants if they are missing one or more teeth. Implants offer several benefits over bridges, and dentures patients must consider. Although the cost is higher at the dentist’s office initially, the implant lasts a lifetime when the patient cares for it. Dentures and bridges must be replaced every so often. Talk to the dentist about any concerns you may have, as you need to make a choice you feel comfortable with, and that will provide you with a gorgeous smile once again.