Are you thinking about getting dental implants to replace your missing teeth? Our Burnaby dentists explain exactly what they are, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of this common procedure.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. Held in place with a tiny titanium rod implanted into the patient’s jaw bone, the implant serves as the root of the artificial tooth.
Titanium is used because it has a good bonding ability with bone. Titanium implants are tooth replacements that are extremely stable and secure. The dental implant is then capped with a dental crown that mimics the appearance of a natural tooth.
Together, the implant and the cap look and function just like your natural tooth.
What are the advantages of having dental implants?
Dental implants offer several advantages, including:
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth in the upper or lower jaw. We can combine implants with other treatment options such as a bridge or denture.
The number of actual implants you need/can get is determined by your specific case and requirements, as well as the density of your jaw bone. Dental implants are a popular choice for many patients because they can be customized in a variety of ways.
Provided you properly care for your dental implant, it can last a lifetime. A proper at-home oral care routine is a must, as are regular visits to your dental office for cleanings and exams.
Other factors including nutrition, genetics or the development of dental diseases can also impact the longevity of your dental implant.
Natural Look and Feel
As mentioned above, your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, should look and function just like your natural tooth.
No one should be able to tell you have artificial teeth, and you should be able to eat, speak, and function normally while maintaining your quality of life. You will not experience any sensations because there are no nerves in a dental implant.
Instead, any feelings you have about your dental implant will be caused by the soft tissue surrounding the implant. After your implant has healed and you've gotten used to it, the difference between your implant and your natural teeth will most likely be negligible.
Easy to Care For
Dental implants, like bridges, crowns, and other restorations, can be cared for in the same way that natural teeth are. Brushing and flossing will be necessary, and your dentist will need to check them during your regular exams.
What are the potential disadvantages of dental implants?
Depending on the nature of your case, dental implants may not be for you. Here are some aspects of dental implants you may want to consider:
While dental implants may look and feel somewhat more natural than dental bridges, the dental implant process is lengthier and more invasive.
Depending on your treatment plan and your specific case, the entire dental implant procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 9 months to complete.
The cost of dental implants varies depending on your insurance coverage and the nature of your dental problem. While some insurance companies may cover a portion of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants, and others may not cover any part of it at all.
Check with your insurance provider to learn whether your insurance plan will cover your treatment.
In addition to the aforementioned factors, you must have sufficient density in your jaw bone for a successful dental implant procedure. If you don't, you might still be a good candidate for the procedure, but you'll need a bone graft to help support the implant. This would make the procedure more time-consuming and invasive.
How do I know whether dental implants or other options are right for me?
While dental implants, bridges and other restorations all have their benefits, the right choice for you will depend on your oral health needs, budget and other factors.
Ultimately, you’ll need to discuss your case with your dentist to find out which tooth-replacement option would work best for you.