Did you know that, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, more than half of all Americans ages 35 to 45 have experienced losing one or more teeth? If you’re in this category, it might be an interesting fact to know, and it may even be a little comforting. Of course, it doesn’t solve your problem. You need facts about cosmetic dental procedures. Dental implants are one of cosmetic dentistry’s most prominent methods of restoring missing teeth. They’ve become increasingly more popular since the American Dental Association endorsed the use of implants way back in 1986. In fact, the number of dental implant procedures nearly tripled in the decade following, and today more than 500,000 procedures for dental implants are performed every year in the U.S. If you have experienced loss of one or more teeth, you may be searching for an effective method of replacing those teeth. You’d love to eat without the difficulty that can be caused by missing teeth. But you also may be looking for a more natural look and feel than dentures. That’s where dental implants come in.
Dental implants are artificial teeth that are designed to be a more permanent replacement for lost teeth than dentures or some other forms of false teeth. Dental implants are placed by a cosmetic dentist via surgical procedure. They typically are more durable and stable than dentures, since most types eventually become integrated by the bone and metal fusing together.
A dental implant process requires a surgical procedure, and depending on the type of implant chosen, it may require two surgeries. The entire process from beginning to end generally takes from several months to a year. During the surgery, the patient will receive either a local or general anesthesia, after which a cosmetic dentist will drill holes in the jawbone in order to insert metal cylinders, plates, or titanium screws that will replace roots of lost teeth. Following this procedure, patients are typically advised to eat only soft foods for several days. A temporary denture may be given that will cover gaps in the mouth. Following this part of the process, an abutment will be necessary. This connects the artificial tooth to the screw or cylinder. Anesthesia will be given for this procedure because the cosmetic dentist will make a small incision into the gums. After the abutment is placed, gums will need a healing period, which typically will take several weeks. Following this part of the process, an impression of the mouth will be made and sent to a prosthodontist, who will construct the artificial tooth (or teeth). The implants will then be secured in place.
Types of dental implants
The most common types of dental implant include root form, plate form, and intramucosal implants. Root form implants are endosteal implants. This means they are placed in the jawbone via a surgical procedure. Titanium screws are used for securing implants into place. Root form implants require that a patient’s jawbone is wide and deep enough to accept them. Plate form implants are similar to root form implants, but are used on patients whose jawbones are not wide and/or deep enough for root form implants. Plate form implants are longer and flatter than root form and can be used on patients whose jawbones are narrower. Intramucosal implants are different from both root form and plate form implants because they are not so much implants are they are inserts. This type of implant is used in conjunction with dentures in order to attach to a patient’s gums.
What are the risks of dental implants?
Upwards of 95 percent of all dental implant procedures are successful. However, just as with any type of procedure, there are potential risks involved. Because titanium and metal are not biological substances, rejection may occur. Implants also can cause infection, just as with any surgical procedure. Sinus problems and nerve damage also have been known to occur infrequently.
Additionally, not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. Patients must not only be in good health; they must also have healthy gums. Because surgical procedures are involved in the process, patients who suffer from health problems such as bleeding disorders, uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, AIDS, or cancer may not be proper candidates for dental implants. (This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all health issues that can restrict a patient’s ability to receive dental implants. Because of this, it is important for every patient to inform their cosmetic dentist of their entire medical history.)
Though it’s true millions of adults have experienced losing one or more teeth, it’s not a comfort to know if you’re the one suffering with that loss. Dental implants have long been one of cosmetic dentistry’s chosen procedures to replace missing teeth because of their ability to restore the most natural look, function, and feel of real teeth. If you’re someone who has lost teeth and you’re looking for an alternative to dentures, dental implants may be right for you. Contact a cosmetic dentist to schedule a consultation and have all your questions about dental implants, as well as your other options, answered.