This brings to mind a line from one of my all time favorite songs: "They'll hit you with that fake smile and I'm not talking dentures..." and on and on.
Thankfully, we are not talking about dentures; we are talking about something better. Decades ago, the only remedy to losing a tooth - or teeth - were removable dentures or a fixed bridge. And we all know the trouble we have to go through to maintain them, not to mention the attendant discomfort.
Dental implants was a breath of fresh air as well as a source of relief to subscribers of the dental community.
So what is a dental implant?
As told by the Academy of General Dentistry, a dental implant is an artificial tooth "root" artificially placed in your mouth to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, denture or bridge. It is made from titanium metal and it fuses around the jawbone serving as a root for the missing tooth.
This is by presently the best - if not the only long-term option for tooth replacement.
But is it right for you? Before going to get an implant you should submit yourself for oral and dental examination to a dental implant expert.
So if you still have all of your teeth, more power to you; I hope you get to keep them. But if you - like me - have lost a tooth (or teeth) as a result of an accident or the tooth fairy, here are a few things you must know about dental implants, especially if you are planning on getting one.
Screenshot: Dental Implants
1. Dental implant procedures have a high success rate
I do not know about you but I have only been to the dentist twice, but I know many people who have been visiting the dentist all of their adult life. A good number of them have had dental implant procedures without any sort of complication during the procedure.
Success rate of dental implant procedures vary depending on the dental health of the individuals, where in the jaw the implants are placed and the expertise of the person who carried out the procedure. But generally, dental implants have a success rate of up to 95%. A 2014 study suggests greater implant success rates when carried out by a dental specialist.
2. Implants look and feel natural
When it comes to appearance and feel, the only difference between dental implants and real teeth is that it is not real teeth. They are customized to look, feel and fit exactly like all the other teeth in your dental collection.
If you will, it is a perfect clone of the missing tooth - more so if the procedure was performed by a dental specialist. It gets its natural feel from the fact that it is fused to your bone. Special care is also taken in the design of the crown to ensure that it is almost not distinguishable from your teeth.
I mean you do not want to smile in public only to have someone ask if you had something done to your teeth now, do you? I am betting your answer is no.
3. Implants make eating easier
Unlike other dental treatment options, implants enable you to enjoy a most natural and satisfying chewing experience. You do not have to take special care when eating.
Are you hungry? No worries, just eat.
Traditional dentures often slide, making it difficult for you to enjoy chewing. Dental implants function like your natural teeth, allowing you to eat all your favorite foods without any extra effort or sensation of pain.
Speaking of teeth sensitivity, the bite force you can apply when eating is almost the same as that of a person with a complete set of teeth. It is most definitely allows better bite force than a person with traditional dentures can afford.
4. Implants serve as a replacement for the roots of your missing tooth
When you lose a tooth, it creates a void where the root was situated. Unfortunately, most tooth replacement options only focus on replacing the crown of the teeth. Dental implants focus on the parts of the teeth that cannot be seen - namely the roots, or the sub-level, as I love to call it.
The roots of your teeth are anchored to your jaw, that is why they can hold it in place - much like the roots of a tree. With the implants are put such that they make contact with the bone, tricking it into thinking thinking that the root of the teeth is present. This encourages it to grow new tissue around the implant, thereby creating a natural bond between bone and metal.
Without the dental implant in the root position, you will lose jawbone mass and density over time.
5. Implants can help protect healthy teeth
When you lose a tooth, one of the most widely used teeth replacement option has been the dental bridge. Often times, this involves cutting of some parts of adjacent healthy teeth to ensure proper balance of the dental bridge.
Thanks to dental implants, we can now position a crown or a bridge on the dental implant itself. Other teeth do not need to suffer because of the plight of one.
Dental implants are a way of ensuring that healthy teeth stay healthy by living them alone while still providing a foundation in your jawbone to support whatever dental prosthesis you are affixing and hold it firmly in place.