Considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option? Our Calgary dentists explain exactly what they are, and the advantages and disadvantages 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 the ability to bond with the bone. Titanium implants are extremely strong and secure tooth replacements. The dental implant is then capped with a dental crown that looks like 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 will be 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 due to their numerous configuration options.
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, 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 enjoying the quality of life. Since there are no nerves in a dental implant, you will not feel sensations.
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, you'll probably notice very little difference between it and your natural teeth.
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 can vary depending on your insurance coverage and your specific dental issue. While some insurance companies cover a portion of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants, and still, others may not cover any of it.
Check with your insurance provider to learn whether your insurance plan will cover your treatment.
In addition to the items listed above, you must have sufficient density in your jaw bone for successful dental implant treatment. If you do not, you may still be a candidate for the procedure, but you will need a bone graft to 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.