A: They are used to replace missing teeth— from a single tooth to multiple teeth or all the teeth in the mouth. So, it depends on the patient’s situation and is tailored to their needs for teeth replacement.
When we say dental implants, what we are talking about is a permanent treatment for one or more missing teeth. There are several types of procedures for dental implants and each has its benefits. However, in general, dental implants are the superior solution for a missing tooth.
Unlike dentures or bridges which are more cosmetic solutions than anything, implants restore full function and form. In fact, dental implants result in restorations that are so lifelike, that no one can tell you have them. That is because they are crafted so well to look, feel, and function just like the teeth we’re born with.
At the heart of the dental implant procedure is the implant itself—a titanium post that is anchored into the jawbone. This biocompatible post serves as a new root to replace the natural root that was once there. Why is this an important distinction? Because the jawbone relies on stimulation from the teeth to regenerate more bone material when needed.
You see, over time your jawbone, due to bite force and friction loses a bit of density. The root of your teeth “tell” the jawbone to absorb calcium and other minerals from the bloodstream. It uses these minerals to reinforce the jawbone. If there is no root, however, the jawbone keeps eroding, leading to a domino effect of health issues.
Since dental implants are made of a biocompatible material, they bond with the jawbone and stimulate it to regenerate bone mass. This preserves the jawbone and prevents other issues due to jawbone deterioration.
Why Should I Get Dental Implants Instead Of Dentures?
Dental implants are the superior alternative for replacing missing teeth. Not only does the implant preserve jawbone health, but the restoration placed on top of it mimics real teeth in every way. The restoration or crown replaces the visible part of natural teeth. It is the part of a tooth that does the biting and chewing, so it must be very durable.
With dental implants, that restoration is created in an advanced lab to have the same hardness as natural teeth. Furthermore, the materials that go into the restoration look identical to natural teeth, and they won’t decay. So, not only do you get the look of natural teeth, you get full function and a natural feel.
With dentures, you get zero jawbone fortification because dentures sit on top of the gums with messy adhesive. Since they are not implanted into the jawbone, you also have significantly less bite strength. This can make it hard to eat many foods because you simply can’t bite down hard enough to chew it.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, over time the jawbone completely erodes, leaving you with a sunken-in facial structure. Furthermore, it can get so bad there’s not even enough gum bed to mount dentures.
Our primary objective is to restore your teeth to natural specifications and capabilities. Otherwise, your quality of life takes a tumble. That’s not the case with dental implants. Patients are finding their confidence again, enjoying the foods they love, and speaking in social settings without the stigma of dentures.
Why Don’t Dentures Feel Natural
Because dentures are just installed with adhesive, they feel foreign in your mouth. This makes it hard to learn how to speak and chew. People often have problems with dentures slipping out, or developing a speech impediment. With dental implants, you get the same stability as natural teeth and stimulation in the jawbone. This allows you to “feel” when you chew, speak, or do other daily activities. Dentures, simply can’t replicate that. For all intents and purposes, dentures are more of a cheap cosmetic fix than anything else.
The only problem is, dentures are very expensive, they’re not cheap at all. Decent dentures can cost upwards of $5,000. Doesn’t sound too bad on the surface, does it? However, keep in mind, without stimulation, the jawbone erodes and changes shape.
What does that have to do with the cost of dentures? Simple, your dentures you had for three or so years, suddenly don’t fit right anymore. That is because the shape of your jaw which affects the gum beds has changed. The dentures no longer line up properly, nor do they fit on your gums the same.
That means you must get another set of dentures made, or at the very least get yours adjusted. So, there goes another few thousand at the very least. Also, if you don’t get new dentures, you deal with them falling out more often, and this seriously affects your speech. It might cost less to adjust them if possible but still, it’s an expense that can be avoided with dental implants.
Do You Qualify For Implants?
Except for very rare situations, dental implants are an ideal fit for you if you:
- Have a missing or failing tooth, or multiple missing teeth
- Have a fully developed jawbone
- Have enough bone mass in your jawbone to implants the titanium posts
- Don’t have signs of gingivitis or other gum issues
- Don’t suffer from conditions that impact healing such as diabetes
- Want to live your life as you always have with functioning teeth
- Can agree to follow the pre and post-op recovery routine
- Aren’t a smoker or tobacco user or can stop for 3 months prior to implant surgery
Getting Screened For Eligibility
Dental implant surgery is a complex procedure that requires you to go through a thorough evaluation to determine eligibility. At our office that evaluation includes but is not limited to:
- Comprehensive Exam— We utilize 3D imaging in addition to X-rays of your teeth and make molds of them get an accurate fitment.
- Disclosing Medical History— This is one of the most crucial parts of the evaluation and we rely on you to be thorough. You need to disclose all medical conditions, and any prescriptions you take in addition to OTC medicines and supplements. Conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions require special consideration to be safe.
- Exclusive Treatment Plan— Not all patients are alike. Some will have unique needs and circumstances. Therefore, every treatment plan is custom-tailored for your needs—there is no universal treatment plan.
- Keeping Pain To A Minimum— We are very careful with our treatments and keep pain to a minimum with dental implants. During the procedure, you are sedated for your safety and ours. This is critical to keeping the pain levels low. You’ll need to set up someone to drive you home after your surgery as well.
Get Your Smile Back With Dental Implants From Dr. Nahlah!
Dr. Nahlah has helped thousands break free from the stigma of missing teeth and cumbersome dentures. We make sure that from the initial consultation to the post-op follow-up—your needs are the top priority.
We encourage you to ask as many questions as you have about the process for dental implants. Our belief is that educated patients appreciate their treatments more.
So, if you’re struggling with missing or failing teeth and want true restoration—contact us today, and schedule your free consultation!