Are you thinking about getting dental implants as a tooth replacement option? Today, our Vancouver dentists explain exactly what they are and their advantages and potential disadvantages.
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 this type of metal can bond with bone. Titanium implants are very stable, secure tooth replacements. We then cap the dental implant with a dental crown, which looks like a natural tooth.
Together, the implant and the cap will serve just like a natural tooth in both function and appearance.
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. They can be combined with other treatment options such as a bridge or denture, depending on your needs.
Elements such as the density of your jawbone and other specifics of your case will determine the number of actual implants you need/can get. Dental implants are a popular option for many patients as they have many potential configurations.
If you properly care for your dental implant, it can last a lifetime. Following good at-home oral hygiene practices 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 how long your dental implant could last.
Natural Look and Feel
As mentioned above, your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, will look and function just like your natural tooth.
No one should be able to tell that you have artificial teeth, and you can eat, speak and function as you did before while maintaining your quality of life. Since there are no nerves in a dental implant, you will not feel any sensation.
Any sensations that you experience related to your dental implant actually come from the surrounding soft tissue. After your implant has healed and you’ve gotten used to it, you most likely will notice very little difference between your implant and your natural teeth.
Similar to bridges, crowns or other restorations, you can care for your dental implants just like your natural teeth. They’ll need thorough brushing and flossing, 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 treatment process itself 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.
Depending on your insurance coverage and your specific dental issue, the cost of dental implants can vary. While some insurance companies pay part of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants and others still may not pay for any part of it.
To learn whether your insurance plan will cover your dental implant treatment, check with your insurance provider.
In addition to the items above, your jawbone must be dense enough for successful dental implant treatment. If this is not the case, you may still be a candidate for the procedure but would require a bone graft to transplant bone to your jaw to support the implant. This would make the process longer and more invasive.
How do I know if dental implants are the right choice for me?
While dental implants, bridges and other restorations all have their benefits, the right choice for you will vary based on your specific oral health needs, your budget and other factors.
Your dentist will discuss your case with you to begin identifying which tooth replacement option could work best for you.