Do you feel self-conscious about your teeth? If yes, you’re in the right place. A recent study linked dental aesthetics with a person’s psychological well-being. Broken teeth might look normal to most people but to some, it can affect their self-confidence and self-esteem. 

If you have been looking for a tooth replacement option, a dental implant could be the best option for you. Unlike traditional dentures or bridges, dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss. 

If you want to improve your speech or want to make it easier to eat, then it’s definitely worth exploring dental implants as a more natural alternative to bridges or dentures. Getting dental implants can boost your oral health and even your self-esteem! 

Of course, before you go for the implant, it’s good to make sure you understand what you’re in for and what to expect from the procedure. This guide will give you everything you need to know about dental implant surgery.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental Implant also known as Prosthetic replacement are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Over the course of several months, the bone surrounding the implant grows, holding it securely in place. Replacement teeth are then attached with a metal connector to the implant, filling in the gap.

It was invented by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Branemark in 1952. Today, it is considered the standard of care for prosthetic replacement of missing teeth in dentistry. 

Types of Dental Implants

Depending on the needs and types of teeth damage, dental implants are classified into three different types. 

  • Endosteal Implants

Among all the dental implant types, Endosteal Implants are the most common and often recommended to patients who have a healthy jawbone for the post to fuse to. In this implant procedure, a placeholder post shaped like a screw is put into the jaw where a false tooth is fitted onto.

 The screw that is put into the jaw requires time to fuse together to create a stronghold. And that’s what makes Endosteal Dental Implants take a little more time to heal than other implants. Finally, a false tooth is placed on top of the screw once the areas are healed. 

  • Subperiosteal Implants

If you don’t like the idea of something being placed into your jawbone, you can try” Subperiosteal Implants” which is the second most common dental implant.

A subperiosteal dental implant is a little different and is the main alternative to Endosteal Implants. Unlike endosteal, subperiosteal doesn’t need a screw to be fixed into the jawbone, instead, implants rest on top of the bone but are still under the gum. 

In this procedure, gums play a great role. The gum is made to hold the metal frame instead of bone. When the gums heal around the frame, a false tooth is placed on top of the poles that come out of the gum. Subperiosteal dental surgery is only recommended to patients who don’t have a strong enough jawbone to hold the implant.  

  • Zygomatic Implants 

Zygomatic dental implants are the least common type of implant and are rarely available in dental clinics. Compared to Endosteal and Subperiosteal dental implants, a zygomatic implant is a complicated procedure. 

Zygomatic implants use the cheekbones instead of the jawbone. When a patient doesn’t have enough jawbone and strong gums to hold the implant, the dentist uses the cheekbone to hold the implants. 

Depending on the types of implant you choose, you get two types of teeth options to choose from. 

  1. Fixed – Most dentists will suggest fixed teeth for dental implants because implants are exceptionally strong. Adding fixed teeth makes the implants even stronger.
  2. Removable – Removable teeth are similar to dentures. It’s mounted on a metal frame that’s attached to the implant abutment, and it snaps securely into place. At any time you need, you can easily remove the teeth for repair and cleaning. 

7 Signs You May Need Dental Implants

Oftentimes individuals tend to ignore dental problems either because they don’t know the severity of dental damage or they don’t care about it. Here are 7 signs from your teeth asking you for a dental implant:

  • Missing or Chipped Teeth 

Missing teeth most of the time affects the ability to chew, talk and drink. On top of that, it also puts the patient at risk for recurring headaches and infections. Some teenagers might even experience low confidence levels just because of the broken or missing teeth. 

To cover up your broken or missing teeth you can either choose a dental crown or dental implants depending upon the situation. But dental implants look and function more naturally, it also offers security to patients, no one will be able to spot the difference.

  • Dentures Not Fitting Properly

Dentures are removable plates or frames holding one or more artificial teeth. When these dentures don’t fit correctly, they cause pain and discomfort. Compared to dentures, dental implants are more reliable because they function and feel just like a real tooth. 

With an implant, you no longer have to worry about your dentures becoming loose and falling out while talking or eating.

  • Signs of Infection 

Teeth can be infected for many reasons including periodontal disease, injury, and more. The infection becomes a major problem only when it gets worse and starts affecting other teeth. Not only can infections lead to further tooth loss, but they can also spread to the rest of the body and cause additional health problems.

In this case, dentures and other dental solutions might not help. A dental implant might be the only solution. An implant will not only relieve the patient from the pain of infection, but it also helps prevent more serious health problems due to untreated infection. 

  • Loose Jaw Bone

The jawbone is there to hold your teeth. When a certain part of a jaw has missing teeth, it begins to erode as there are no roots stimulating it to grow.  Jaw bone helps prevent mouth regression, helps replace tooth structure and overall face structure. With the help of dental implants, you can save the deterioration of jaw bone tissues. 

  • Sunken Face 

The older a person gets, the more he or she loses teeth and jaw bone density. Unlike dentures, dental implants stimulate bone growth and help get the face into shape. 

  • Loose Bridge

A loose bridge is a similar problem to loose dentures. With the help of dental implants, you don’t have to worry about loose bridges anymore. 

  • Insecurities 

If you don’t feel confident about your smile despite using dentures and bridges, dental implants are the solution. Implants look natural and can work wonders for your smile. 

What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

Unlike any other dental procedure, dental implants come with lots of advantages for both teeth and overall health. Here are some advantages you’ll enjoy after dental implants:

  • Boost Your Oral Health – As mentioned earlier, dental implants look and function like natural teeth. After you get used to it, you’ll start taking care of it as you do with your natural teeth. 
  • Dental Implants Keep Adjacent Teeth Stable – If you have missing teeth, there is a high chance that adjacent teeth will crookedly shift towards the gap. By taking advantage of dental implants you can keep the adjacent teeth stable and in their place. 
  • Improve Overall Quality of Life – Dental implants not only improve oral health but it also improves your overall quality of life. With the help of a dental implant, you can improve your eating habits, eliminate mess adhesives used to hold dentures, and permanently fix healthy teeth. 
  • Restores Bite Force – Dental implants are basically a tooth root replacement procedure. When you have a strong root because of the implant, you automatically restore your bite force. 
  • Improve the Shape Of Your Face – When you lose a tooth and leave the gap unattended, you lose your jaw bone density which in turn gives you a sunken look. Dental implants can help replace the missing tooth and restore bone density and improve the shape of your face. 
  • Enables Natural Speech – Because dental implants feel and function just like natural teeth, they enable you to speak easily and naturally.
  • A Permanent Solution to Tooth Loss – Other than dental implants all other tooth replacement options need to be repaired and replaced periodically. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement options that are designed to last for the rest of your life. 

Who Is Eligible for Dental Implants?

We talked about the signs, we talked about the advantages, now let’s dip deeper into who can actually have dental implants. Not everybody can have a dental implant, there are lots of factors that determine the eligibility for dental implants. 

  • A person who has one or more missing teeth. 
  • Dental implants involve sets of minor surgeries. A person who is healthy enough to go through the surgeries without the risk of complications can have dental implants. 
  • A person who has a history of dental problems might not be the perfect candidate for dental implants because there is a higher risk of implant failure. 
  • The jawbone is an important factor for dental implants. A person who has a solid bone to hold the screw in place can only take advantage of the implants. 
  • Lastly, a person who is willing to invest their time and emotional energy in the process is eligible for dental implants. It takes several procedures and a great deal of recovery time before a patient can enjoy their implant-supported teeth.
  • When it comes to children getting dental implants, it is a pretty rare occurrence. As a general rule of thumb, kids should be 15 to 17 years old before getting implants. It’s at this age when the jaw has likely finished growing.

The Steps of Getting a Dental Implant

This part of the article explains the steps involved in the dental implant process. 

Step 1: Initial Evaluation

The first step is the evaluation stage. In this stage, the dentist will do a thorough examination of your oral health. You will be asked to do X-rays, you’ll be asked to talk about your medical conditions and medications. 

Once you are eligible for the implant, you will determine how many teeth you want to replace with an implant and match the color of your teeth to make the implant look as natural as possible. 

Step 2: Tooth Extraction

The second stage involves the process of extraction. This is the stage where dentistry sedation comes into play. Once you are given the anesthesia, the dentist will start the extraction process. It shouldn’t take long to remove the tooth unless it’s fractured.

Avoid blowing your nose, smoking, spitting excessively, and drinking through a straw after tooth extraction, as it could create a dry socket which is extremely painful. 

Step 3: Inserting the Dental Implant and Bone Grafting

Depending on the type of dental implant, your dentist will either drill your jawbone or use the gumline. The third stage involves cutting open the gumline, drilling, and screw placing. 

Once the implant is done, the dentist will leave it for some days to be healed. In 3 to 9 months the jawbone will have grown stronger around the implants and the gumline will become the natural part of the implant. 

Step 4: Abutment Placement

The fourth step involves giving your teeth a final touch. In this stage, an abutment is placed on top of the implant. The dentist will add a healing cap to keep the tissue and bone from growing overtop of the abutment. The abutment acts as a bridge that connects the implant and the crown. 

Step 5: Adding the Permanent Crown

Lastly, after your gums heal, an artificial tooth is placed on top of the abutment. You can choose to have a removable or permanent crown. 

Things You Will Experience Post Surgery 

To get dental implants, you will have to undergo minor surgery. Similar to other surgeries, there are some things you should expect after your dental surgery.

  • Bleeding – If you see blood oozing out of your mouth, don’t panic. Slight bleeding, oozing, or redness in the saliva is not uncommon. Make sure you don’t touch the surgical site with your tongue.
  • Pain – For a few days, you will experience pain and in some cases, extreme pain. But, soon the pain and discomfort should subside themselves. 

  • Swelling – Swelling is a normal part of the process. After your surgery, you’ll have a swollen face, such as swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes, and sides of the face. Swelling will usually reach its peak on the 3rd or 4th day. Don’t worry, this is a normal post-operative event that will resolve in time.

Things to Avoid After Your Procedure

There are things you shouldn’t do after your dental implant procedures. Here are some of the things to avoid. 

  • Avoid Exercise – Stay away from exercise for a few days. Let your body heal!
  • No Smoking – The sucking motion of smoking might cause you to develop a painful oral surgery complication called dry sockets. If you’re a passive smoker, try not smoking for at least the whole day after your dental surgery.
  • Avoid Hot and Cold Beverage – Hot food and drink can cause burns in the mouth, especially when you’re less sensitive due to the numbing anesthetics and painkillers. 
  • Don’t Drink Any Alcohol for the First 24 Hours – Alcohol will make it harder for the wound to heal and might also interfere with the medication that the doctor prescribed you. 

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

There is no exact cost for a dental implant. The cost will vary depending on the type of implant, the use of sedation, your oral health, the number of implants, and the complexity of the treatment. 

Your dentist is the only one that can give you a good indication of the cost once you’ve discussed your individual treatment plan.

To give you the average, a dental implant could cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 per implant. $275 to $450 for a single-tooth implant and $1,000 to $2,000 for the crown. In a dental implant procedure, the crown has the highest fee. 

Don’t forget, implants are a long-term solution, so although they tend to cost more than other options for replacing teeth, the benefits are likely to last a lot longer.

Factors that Determines the Cost of Dental Implant

  • Quality of Dental Implant Materials – The material quality you choose for your implant screw, crown, and abutment has a great influence on dental implants costs. 
  • Number of Implants – The more the number of implants, the higher the cost. 
  • Location of Your Teeth – Depending on the structure of your mouth some of the teeth are hard to extract. So, if the tooth that needs an implant is located in a complicated area of the mouth, it will cost you more. 
  • Requirement of Extraction – For the implant, if there is a need for tooth extraction, there will be an extra charge solely dedicated to extraction. 
  • Your Oral Health – You need to have good oral health for a dental implant. If you have gum problems or other oral issues, the dentist will have to fix the problem first. The treatment cost will add to the total cost of dental implants. 

FAQs About Dental Implants

The most common disadvantage of getting a dental implant is that it is a costly procedure and may not always be covered by insurance providers. Additional potential disadvantages of dental implants include Pain, swelling, and bleeding due to surgery. Anesthesia complications like nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.

A dental bridge is a cheaper alternative to dental implants, but it is not suitable for all situations.

Your gums can grow between your dental implant placement appointment and the time that you receive your permanent restoration.

Are You Ready for a Better Smile?

Dental implants can do more than just boost a person’s confidence or give them a bright, beautiful smile. Dental implants can actually help preserve and maintain health and a youthful appearance. Dental implant procedures take several months to complete. They look natural and are meant to last for many decades.

Most dental implants are successful. Sometimes, however, the bone fails to fuse sufficiently to the metal implant. Smoking, for example, may contribute to implant failure and complications.

If you are considering dental implants as an alternative to traditional dentures, make an appointment at your neighborhood dentist’s office today. They can perform an examination and let you know about your options.