5 Things You Should Know About Dental Implants
Dentures can be a big hassle, especially as we get older. For decades, however, this was the best option to deal with a lost tooth (or teeth). Now, however, you have the option of dental implants, which are permanent tooth replacements fused into the jawbone just like a real tooth. Under the right circumstances, it can be a wonderful option. You can treat them just like teeth and they last just as long. Before you decide on implants, though, you must know a few things.
- It’s a process. There are several steps to getting dental implants put in, so plan on it taking some time. You will require two oral surgeries about three to six months apart: one to implant the metal anchors in your jawbone and another to attach a final healing collar and surface level base for the permanent dentures. Only after this will our dentists build the final false teeth around the implant. During this process, you’ll be required to wear temporary dentures and eat soft foods. From start to finish, it takes about 6 to 8 months. While most patients experience little real disruption to their lives, for some people, this wait can be tough.
- They can save your surrounding teeth and jawbone structure. When you have a missing tooth, the lack of stimulation in the area can cause bone loss. While dentures and bridges can slow this damage, they cannot stop it, because no amount of gum stimulation will reach all the way down to the jawbone like the root of a tooth or implant. Bridges also risk damaging the surrounding teeth anchoring them in place. Dental implants save your teeth and jawbone structure from such damage.
- Implants cost more upfront, but can be less expensive in the long term. Dental implants can be expensive upfront, costing thousands of dollars. Although this can be paid in manageable installments and will often be covered at least partially by insurance, it is a substantial investment. Luckily, implants don’t require any more upkeep or replacement than your normal teeth, unlike dentures and bridges. This means that many people save money in the long term.
- Not everyone qualifies for dental implants (but most people can). Your jaw must have enough bone support for an implant, and you cannot be seriously ill when undergoing these procedures. You also cannot heavily smoke after getting the implant, as it can cause you to lose the root. Most generally healthy adults who do not smoke can qualify. Your jawbone can even be built up prior to the procedure if your bone height is not currently enough.
- Dental implants can last a lifetime–but only with proper care. Dental implants can be generally treated like regular teeth and last just as long. That is only true if you care for your teeth. Serious gum disease and plaque buildup can damage both your natural and artificial teeth, causing you to lose them. After getting a dental implant, you must still brush, floss, and go to the dentist often.
If you are considering dental implants to replace a lost tooth, there are plenty of advantages, but that doesn’t mean you should make this decision lightly. Come talk to one of our dentists to find out whether you qualify and what your options may be.
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