When you lose a tooth, there are several replacement options available. Your choice depends on your lifestyle and desired appliance elements. For example, patients who want a less invasive process may choose dental bridges or partial dentures. However, some patients want a permanent fix, even if the procedure is more invasive.
For those patients who want a replacement option that fits their lifestyle, consider dental implants. Dental implants are prosthetic tooth roots made of titanium. Due to their material and method of implantation, dental implants can last a lifetime. Other options for missing teeth only last a decade or more before you need a replacement. However, dental implants won’t shift and allow you to live your life without diet restrictions.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Unlike some tooth replacements, you cannot remove dental implants. This means that you do not have to remove them at night or for cleaning, like dentures. Instead, an oral surgeon surgically places the implant, so it remains firmly in your jaw. As a result, you can enjoy dental implants like they are your natural teeth.
In addition, caring for your dental implants is much easier and more efficient than other replacement options. Dentures require soaking and special cleaning instructions. For example, with dental bridges, you need to floss underneath the appliance to remove plaque and avoid gum disease. On the other hand, you can clean dental implants like your natural teeth. This means that regular brushing and flossing are sufficient to care for your teeth.
Dental implants will never move or slide while you eat or speak. This is one of the many complaints about dentures and, occasionally, dental bridges. Because you must remove dentures, they can move around and shift while eating. In addition, if your dental bridge is loose, it can shift and damage your teeth. Yet, dental implants will stay steady in your mouth.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
While there are numerous benefits of dental implants, the process of getting them can turn some people away. It can take months before your implants are fully in your mouth and healed. To receive dental implants, you have to undergo several surgeries, which have long recovery periods.
First, your surgeon will place the post, which acts as the tooth’s root. Then, you must wait 4-6 weeks for your jaw to heal completely. This is because the bone and soft tissues must grow around the implant before you can move to the next step.
Next, you will receive the abutment, which will hold the dental crown later. Again, you need a recovery period before you receive the final portion—the crown. There is a process that can combine two steps, but many patients don’t want the metal portions sticking out of their gums while they wait for the permanent crown.
For many patients, the length of the dental implant process can seem daunting. However, it is worthwhile if you are a candidate for dental implants.