If you are missing one or more teeth, then you know how much of an impact missing teeth can have on a person’s life. Missing teeth can make it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods and speak normally. They also change your appearance and can have a negative impact on a person’s confidence and self-esteem.
As a result, most dentists recommend replacing missing teeth with a variety of tooth-replacement options that modern dentistry has made available. Dental implants are, perhaps, the most popular tooth-replacement choice out there. However, there are some myths and misconceptions about dental implants that discourage some patients from asking their dental care provider about them. We’re here to set the facts straight about dental implants so that you can understand how great they are for replacing missing teeth.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent tooth-replacement option. Implants use a biocompatible, metal, screw-like device (called an anchor) that acts as replacement tooth roots and an abutment to fix a custom-designed dental crown in place in a person’s mouth.
1. Getting Dental Implants Is Painful
Yes, getting a dental implant requires a patient to undergo oral surgery. However, we ensure that patients experience no pain or discomfort during the procedure with the use of powerful local anesthetics. Pain and discomfort during recovery are typically fairly minimal and can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medications.
2. You’ll Have New Teeth in a Day
Some patients believe that they can get a dental implant in a single appointment. This, however, is not the case, and anyone considering dental implants should be aware of the full extent of the dental implant process.
The process of getting a dental implant requires an initial evaluation, examination, and consultation. Depending on the patient’s jawbone, an initial bone grafting procedure and recovery time might be necessary to prepare the jawbone for dental implant placement. The actual dental implant placement requires an appointment followed by a recovery period during which the implant osseointegrates with the jawbone, creating a strong, natural-feeling anchor point.
Once healed, we then place an abutment on the implant anchor. This process might require a short recovery period, depending on how the patient’s gum tissues healed around the implant anchor. Once fully healed from abutment placement, we can then permanently affix a dental crown to the abutment, completing the dental implant placement process.
The length of the procedure is a little different for every patient, depending on how their body responds and how quickly they heal. The time required for implant placement can range anywhere from around two to six months.
3. People Will Be Able to Tell That You Have a Dental Implant
Once placed, dental implants and the crowns that top them are custom-designed to look natural and blend in seamlessly with the neighboring teeth.
4. Dental Implants Do Not Last Very Long
Dental implants can actually last a lifetime with proper care. The implanted anchor portion of a dental implant should last a patient’s lifetime, as long as they practice good oral hygiene and avoid developing periodontal disease that could affect the jawbone surrounding the dental implant.
Dental crowns typically last for around 15 years and are easily repaired or replaced if they become damaged as a result of an injury or chewing on a hard object.
5. Dental Implants Are Uncomfortable
Dental implants are actually the most comfortable tooth-replacement option available. They feel and function just like a person’s natural teeth. Once placed and healed, a patient shouldn’t be aware of any noticeable difference between the feeling of a dental implant and that of a natural tooth.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
- Dental implants look, feel, and work just like natural teeth.
- Dental implants are low-maintenance, requiring only the same care as natural teeth.
- You can eat anything you want with dental implants.
- Dental implants are a versatile option that can be used to replace one or more teeth or to support a dental bridge, full dentures, or partial dentures.
- Dental implants closely mimic a tooth’s natural root system. As a result, they provide vital stimulation and pressure to the jawbone that keeps the bone healthy and prevents it from deteriorating.
- Dental implants prevent the teeth neighboring a missing tooth’s gap from becoming damaged, shifting out of place, or eventually falling out as a result of jawbone deterioration.
Are Dental Implants Right for You? Schedule a Consultation at Northern Colorado Implant & Prosthetic Dentistry
Thanks to their many benefits, dental implants are one of the most popular tooth-replacement options available. However, they are not necessarily the best choice for every patient. For example, a patient needs to have generally good oral health with no current signs of periodontal disease to be a candidate for dental implants. Additionally, dental implants are not recommended for patients placement in patients with inadequate jawbone mass. In these cases, bone grafting to improve jawbone mass might be necessary before implants can be placed. They are also not necessarily the best choice for smokers who would not be willing to abstain from tobacco use throughout the treatment and healing process.
If you are missing one or many teeth, you don’t have to live with the challenges that an incomplete smile can present. Instead, we encourage you to schedule a smile restoration consultation with Dr. Andrew Bock at Northern Colorado Implant & Prosthetic Dentistry. We can talk with you about your smile goals and oral health history and recommend a personalized treatment plan designed to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. To learn more, we welcome you to contact our office today.