Advantages of Dental Implants
The comfort and convenience of dental implants have helped to make them a popular, permanent alternative to – or anchor for – dentures and bridges.
One of the key advantages of dental implants is that they look and feel like real teeth, or even better. This gives you a natural appearance coupled with a high level of functionality – restoring your smile while enabling you to eat and speak as normal.
Unlike natural teeth, implanted synthetic teeth resist staining and can stay looking good for many years. Another advantage of dental implants is that they avoid the problems associated with keeping dentures clean – you just brush and floss as usual.
Dental implants boast the highest success rate of all surgical implants – up to 98 percent – with an established record of long-term efficiency and dependability.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants have come a long way in a short time and advances in technology have made them affordable to a wider range of people with missing teeth.
A dental implant is a biocompatible post – usually titanium – that’s surgically inserted into the socket of a missing tooth. The implant fuses with the bone and the jaw grows back around the implant, holding it firmly in position.
An abutment is then attached to hold the prosthetic tooth securely, and a crown is fitted onto the abutment.
In addition to standard implants, mini dental implants are also now available.
Standard Dental Implants
Technically known as an endosteal implant, a standard dental implant is the same size as a natural tooth and comprises two pieces with a diameter of 3.25mm to 5mm. An external screw fixes the implant into the tooth socket. Regular implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth or all your teeth.
Mini Dental Implants
Mini dental implants (MDIs) consist of a one-piece screw less than 3mm in diameter. They can be used – without invasive surgery – to stabilize a denture or when a standard implant isn’t possible because of lack of quality jaw bone.
When You Might Need a Dental Implant
Gum disease and cavities wreak havoc with the teeth of many people in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that:
- Seventy percent of youngsters have lost at least one adult tooth through decay by the time they’re 17.
- Nearly seven in 10 people aged 35 to 44 have lost at least one tooth.
- On average, people in the U.S. have lost 12 teeth by the age of 50.
- More than a quarter of people aged 65 to 74 have lost all their teeth.
Oral Health Advantages of Dental Implants
Implants offer major health benefits compared with other tooth-replacement systems. They help to avoid weakening of facial structure by preserving bone. Like muscle, bone deteriorates when not used regularly, and without stimulation from a tooth root, bone in the jaw can begin to waste away.
Dentures and bridges can’t fix this issue but dental implants are robust tooth root replacements that provide an effective solution by becoming part of your jaw and ensuring its structural integrity.
Dental implants also maintain facial structure by providing a solid foundation for dentures. Traditional dentures attach directly to the gums, exerting pressure on the jaw that over time can weaken the oral structure, alter the shape of your face, and possibly shrink your jaw.
Furthermore, dental implants improve bite function. While the bite pressure of dentures is far less than that of natural teeth, the biting force of implants is as strong as your natural teeth. You can eat virtually anything you want to, rather than having to avoid certain foods, and this helps in maintaining a nutritious diet.
Implants also help to keep adjacent teeth healthy – no adjustments to surrounding teeth are necessary, as with bridges – and they stop nearby teeth from straying out of position.
Dental bridges depend on teeth next to the gap to hold the replacement teeth in place, and this can damage these surrounding teeth. This issue is avoided with implants, which do not require any support from adjacent teeth.
Are Dental Implants Suitable for Me?
Implants are a major innovation in dentistry and are now widely used to improve the lives of people of all ages who have lost teeth.
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), implants are suitable for anyone in good general health whose jaw has fully developed.
The AAID says more than 35 million people in the U.S. are missing all their upper or lower teeth, or both, and the number of patients getting implants is increasing rapidly.
The WebMD health information platform says anyone healthy enough for routine tooth extraction is a potential candidate for a dental implant.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Whether you’ve lost one or more teeth, dental implants can turn your life around in terms of both practicality and aesthetics. They can give you back your smile and confidence, and enable you to eat your favorite foods once more.
Dental implants will also:
- Maintain the structural integrity of your jaw.
- Give you a bite power much stronger than dentures.
- Last for decades if you look after them properly.
While bridges and dentures may have to be replaced with time, dental implants offer a long-term solution to tooth loss because they become part of your jaw.
Other advantages of dental implants include:
- Stability. Implants will never slip or shift around as dentures may do.
- Clear speech. Dental implants eliminate slurred speech that can occur with ill-fitting dentures.
- Natural appearance. Dental implants keep the natural shape of your face.
- Versatility. Many types of dental implants are now available.
If you’re considering the advantages of dental implants, an experienced implant dentist will be able to help you decide whether this innovative tooth-replacement system is right for you.
Once regarded as a radical alternative treatment, dental implants are now seen as a superior option for replacing lost teeth, and advances in design and materials are continuing. Thanks to these advances, dentists can now plan implants more effectively, promote bone growth more predictably, and place implants with more precision and into more areas.