Dental implants, usually made of titanium, are used to restore missing teeth. The implants are placed in the root of the missing tooth and fused with the actual bone. This is done with an incision in the gum, followed by the actual insertion of the implant. After the dental implant is inserted, the gums are sewn up and time is given for the gums and bones to heal properly. The healing process can take several months, but it is essential that the bone and implant are strong enough to hold the prosthetic tooth in place.
Before any procedure can begin, a person should consult their dentist. During the initial consultation, the dentist, and often a periodontist, will examine the area where the implant is needed. While examining the mouth, they will make sure there is enough bone to support the procedure. If there isn’t enough bone there is always the option of getting a bone graft. Other reasons for not being a candidate include serious medical conditions, but this varies drastically between patients.
Advantages of dental implants
Unlike dentures or bridges, dental implants are much more durable. While bridges are also permanent, they depend on the surrounding teeth to stay in place. However, implants are considered the absolute best type of prosthetic teeth. Because they are placed in the root of the missing tooth they are replacing, they are a much more natural replacement for the real tooth.
Aesthetically, dental implants look and feel exactly like real teeth; without telling anyone else, there is virtually no way for a person to determine that the implant is not real. Bridges change the surrounding teeth to which they are anchored. This can damage other teeth as a result. Since dental implants only replace a single tooth at a time and are placed in the tooth root, they have no adverse effects on the natural teeth or gums.
The dental implants will act like real teeth. This means they need regular brushing and all the proper dental care that comes with natural teeth. Plaque can build up on the new teeth and must be removed thoroughly, otherwise the life of the prosthetic tooth may be shortened.
Financing and costs
Depending on the area of replacement, dental costs, and insurance, a single tooth replacement can cost $900-$3,000. If dental insurance does not cover the procedure, financing options are often available. Some dentists accept payments or have a list of outside companies that fund the procedure and require monthly payments.
For people with missing teeth, having a dental implant can mean the difference between a confident smile or one that is hidden from the world. Not only will they enable a person to be confident in their smile, but they will also be able to chew their food again in the replacement area. This, along with general improvements in gum health, provides an unparalleled benefit of having dental implants placed.