The Truth About Dental Implants

Dentist showing a patient a dental implant

Dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options available today. They offer a number of advantages over other tooth replacement methods, such as bridges and dentures. If you’re considering dental implants, you may have some questions about the procedure. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about dental implants.

What Are Dental Implants?

Implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed into the jaw during surgery. They feature a screw-shaped fixture that is inserted into the bone, providing a secure foundation for a crown or bridge. The implant itself is comprised of titanium, a biocompatible metal that is engineered to fuse with the jawbone.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Implants are surgically implanted into the jaw. During the surgery, the implant is placed in the jawbone and a screw-shaped post is inserted into the implant. The post is designed to fuse with the jawbone and provide a secure foundation for a tooth (a crown or bridge). Before the post can be placed into the jawbone, the jaw must be prepared. This is usually done through a procedure called osseointegration. Osseointegration is the process of making the jawbone ready for a dental implant.

Once the jawbone has healed and a secure foundation has been established, a dental professional will place a crown or bridge on top of the implant. Over time, the crown will continue to fuse with the implant, eventually becoming as secure as your other permanent teeth.

Mockup of a dental implant in jawline

What Are The Top Benefits Of Dental Implants?

1. Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth.

Dental implants are nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth. They are designed to look, feel and move like normal teeth. Dental implants are even available in a wide range of colors, so you can easily match them to your natural teeth. Some dental implants even feature clear coatings, allowing the implant to blend in with your natural teeth.

2. Dental implants are permanent.

Unlike dentures, dental implants are permanently cemented to your jawbone. Traditional dentures must be removed at the end of the day, while dental implants can stay in place permanently.

3. Dental implants are secure and stable.

Dental implants are both secure and stable. They are securely attached to the jawbone, making them extremely stable. In addition, dental implants are more secure than other tooth replacement options, like dentures, which rely on suction to stay in place.

4. Dental implants are a long-term solution for missing teeth.

If you’re missing one or multiple teeth, dental implants can be a long-term solution. Once dental implants have been successfully integrated into the jaw, they can last a lifetime. Most dental implants can last for at least two decades before they start to show signs of wear and tear.

5. Dental implants are a more conservative treatment option than traditional dental bridges or dentures.

A traditional dental bridge is anchored to two adjacent teeth, while a traditional denture is secured to the gums or palate. Dental implants, however, are secured directly into the jawbone. This makes dental implants an option for people who have few or no adjacent teeth available to anchor a bridge or denture.

What Are The Main Disadvantages Of Dental Implants?

1. There is a risk of implant failure or infection

While dental implants are a more conservative option than traditional bridges or dentures, there are some risks involved with the procedure. The most serious problem with dental implants is that the implant screw can become loose or dislodged. This happens when the implant screw is not properly integrated into the jawbone.

2. Implants can be expensive

Dental implants are a relatively costly option compared to other forms of tooth replacement. However, dental implants can last a lifetime, so the cost of replacing the implant over the long term may actually be cheaper than other options, like dentures.

3. Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants

Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. For example, people with gum disease, diabetes or a weak immune system are not good candidates for dental implants. These conditions can increase the risk of dental implant failure.

4. It can take several months for implants to integrate with the bone

When dental implants are first inserted into the jaw, they don’t immediately attach to the bone. It can take several months for the bone to integrate with the implant. In most cases, this process occurs on its own, but it can sometimes be helped along through additional treatment.

5. Implants may not be suitable for people with a weak immune system

In addition to people with gum disease, diabetes or a weak immune system, dental implants are not usually suitable for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which can negatively impact the function of the oral cavity.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

Dental implants are not an inexpensive procedure. However, when dental implants are compared with other tooth replacement options, like dentures and dental bridges, they’re generally found to be a good value. Dental implants tend to last a lifetime, so the upfront costs are typically outweighed by the costs of replacing the implant later on.

Real dental implant and crown

What Are The Primary Risks Involved With Getting Dental Implants?

1. Infection

The risk of infection associated with implants can range from very low to very high, depending on the treatment provider. While infection is a risk with any implant procedure, infection is one of the most common reasons patients have to undergo implant removal procedures.

2. Implant Failure

Implant failure is the most common reason patients have to undergo dental implant removal procedures. Implants can become loose, causing the surrounding tissues to shift and displace them. Implant failure can also occur when the implant screw is not properly integrated into the jawbone.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

The lifespan of a dental implant can vary greatly depending on the individual. While some dental implants can last a lifetime, others can fail within a few years. Factors that can affect the lifespan of a dental implant include:

  • The health of the individual getting the dental implant.
  • The health of the jawbone.
  • The skill of the cosmetic dentist used for the implant procedure.
  • The technique used for the dental implant procedure.
  • Infection or disease in the jaw.

Conclusion

Dental implants are one of the most popular tooth replacement options available today. They offer a number of advantages over other tooth replacement methods, such as bridges and dentures. If you’re considering dental implants, you may have some questions about the procedure. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about dental implants.