If you have one or more missing teeth, you might be considering dental implants to restore your smile but you may not know much about them. In fact, you may already know someone with dental implants, but not realize it because a tooth implant looks like a real tooth. Learning more about dental implants can help you decide if this state-of-the-art approach to restorative dentistry is right for you. Thinking about getting dental implants? Read on to learn more about what you should know:
Dental implants are common, and getting more common every year
More than 3 million people in the United States have dental implants, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), and another half million get dental implants every year.
Dental implants create a permanent root structure
Your natural tooth roots hold your teeth firmly in your jaw. Hidden below the gum line, tooth roots also create a sturdy structure that supports the crown, which is the part of the tooth visible above the gum. When you lose a tooth, you also lose the tooth root. Dental implants create a permanent root structure that holds a dental crown made from ceramics, porcelain, silver, gold or metal alloys.
The dental implant procedure is easier than you might think
After your initial consultation, your dentist will place the metal post into your jaw. Over the course of weeks or months, new bone tissue will form around the metal post. During this process, known as osseointegration, your jaw bone will fuse with the metal implant to create a strong base. Your dentist will place a temporary crown to protect the implant as your jaw heals.
Once your jaw has healed and osseointegration is complete, your dentist will place an abutment over the implant. This abutment holds the replacement crown. Next, your dentist will create a custom-made crown that looks just like the rest of your natural teeth. When your crown is ready, your dentist will attach it to the metal implant post.
Dental implants can also hold implant-supported dentures
Ill-fitting dentures can slip out of place to cause embarrassment and making eating and speaking more difficult. As they move out of place, dentures can also cause painful “hot spots” on the gum. Dental implants create a solid foundation for implant-supported dentures, which simply snap onto the metal implants.
Dental implants prevent bone loss
In addition to holding your teeth in place, your tooth roots keep the bone in your jaw strong. Bones, including the bones in your jaw, stay strong by constantly breaking down old bone tissue and forming new bone tissue.
As you chew food, the chewing action applies pressure on the bone. The force associated with chewing travels down the tooth into your jawbone to stimulate osteoblasts, which are cells that form new bone tissue. The constant turnover of bone tissue keeps bones dense and strong.
If you have a missing tooth, though, the chewing action does not cause the pressure that stimulates the formation of new bone tissue. Without new tissue, bone loses density, resulting in the loss of bone tissue that can lead to the loss of even more teeth. Bone loss can even change the shape of your face.
Because they sit on top of the gums, dentures do not inflict the pressure that keeps your jaw bones strong, which puts you at risk for more tooth loss. Dental implants, however, fit into the jaw bone to stimulate bone reformation and prevent tooth loss.
You can get dental implants at any age
As long as your jaw is fully developed, you are never too young or too old for dental implants. Young adults may benefit from dental implants after losing a tooth from a sports injury, while older adults may consider dental implants after losing teeth to everyday wear and tear.
Dental implants provide a lifetime of smiles
A dental implant is a permanent tooth replacement. If you should ever damage the crown, your dentist can create a new one.
Dental implants provide a number of benefits
Dental implants can optimize your quality of life by:
- Improving your ability to chew
- Replacing uncomfortable and ill-fitting dentures
- Prevent bone loss resulting from missing teeth
- Preserve the shape of your face
- Restore the cosmetic appearance of your smile
Dental implants are great replacements for missing teeth
Dental implants are easy to care for, permanent, natural-looking and natural-feeling, which makes them great replacements for missing teeth. Dental implants are better than dentures because they don’t slip when you talk or eat, keep your jaw bone strong, retain the natural shape of your face, and are very comfortable.
Dental implants cost less than you think
While dental implants may be more expensive than other tooth replacement options, they may be less expensive than you might think. This is especially true when you consider that crowns and dentures wear out and need replacement, while a tooth implant is permanent.
Where can I get dental implants near me?
For more information about dental implants and replacing a missing tooth, consult with the dental professionals at Las Cruces Dental Solutions. We offer completely in-house dental implants Las Cruces can rely on for bright, healthy smiles! Contact us today to schedule a consultation.