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 or missing teeth might look normal to some people but to most, it can affect their self-confidence and self-esteem.
If you have been looking for a tooth replacement option, dental implant surgery could be the best option for you. Unlike traditional dentures or bridges, implant dentistry is a permanent solution to tooth loss.
If you want to improve your speech or make it easier to eat, then it’s definitely worth exploring dental implants as a more permanent alternative to bridges or dentures.
Implant dentistry can boost your overall 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.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants also known as prosthetic replacements 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.
Dental implants were invented by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Branemark in 1952. Today, it is considered the standard of care for the prosthetic replacement of missing teeth in dentistry.
Types of Dental Implants
Depending on the needs and types of damage, dental implants are classified into three different types.
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. 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.
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 surgery.
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 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 or strong enough gums to hold the implant, the dentist uses the cheekbone to hold the implant.
Depending on the types of implant you choose, you get two types of tooth options to choose from.
- Fixed – Most dentists will suggest fixed teeth for dental implants because implants are exceptionally strong. Adding fixed teeth makes the implants even stronger.
- Removable – Removable teeth are similar to removable dentures. They’re mounted on a metal frame that’s attached to the implant abutment, and it snaps securely into place. At any time, 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 you may need dental implant surgery:
1. 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 might even experience low confidence levels just because of broken or missing teeth.
To cover up your broken or missing teeth you can either choose a dental crown or replace missing teeth with dental implants depending upon the situation. Dental implants look and function more naturally and also offers security to patients, so no one will be able to spot the difference.
2. 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 real teeth.
With an implant, you no longer have to worry about your dentures becoming loose and falling out while talking or eating.
3. Signs of Infection
Natural teeth can get infected due to many reasons including periodontal disease, injury, and more. The infection becomes a major problem when it starts to spread and affects 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. Dental implant surgery 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.
4. Loose Jawbone
The jawbone is there to hold your natural teeth. When a certain part of a jaw has missing teeth, it begins to erode as there are no roots stimulating it to grow.
The surrounding 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 jawbone tissues.
5. Sunken Face
The older a person gets, the more likely they are to experience the loss of teeth and jawbone density. Unlike dentures, dental implants stimulate bone growth and help get the face back to its youthful shape.
6. 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.
If you don’t feel confident about your smile despite using dentures and bridges, dental implants can be 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 your teeth and overall health.
Here are some advantages you’ll enjoy after getting dental implants:
- Boost Your Oral Health – As mentioned earlier, dental implants look and function like natural teeth. After you heal, you’ll start taking care of your teeth as you do with natural teeth.
- Dental Implants Keep Adjacent Teeth Stable – If you have a missing tooth, there is a high chance that adjacent teeth will shift towards the gap. By taking advantage of dental implants, you can keep your adjacent teeth stable and in their place.
- Improve Overall Quality of Life – Dental implants not only improve oral health but also improve your overall quality of life. With the help of a dental implant, you can improve your eating habits, eliminate messy adhesives used to hold dentures, and permanently fix your 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.
- 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?
Implants are not for everybody, there are lots of factors that determine the eligibility for dental implants.
- A person who has one or more missing teeth.
- Someone who is healthy enough to go through the surgeries without the risk of complications can have dental implants. Dental implant procedures involve a set of minor surgeries.
- The jawbone is an important factor for dental implants. To be eligible you have to have a solid jawbone to hold the screw in place.
- 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.
5 Steps of Getting a Dental Implant
No matter the type of implant, every patient has to follow a certain set of steps before getting the final abutment placed.
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 and 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 sedation dentistry 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 in your jawbone or use the gumline. The third stage involves cutting open the gumline, drilling, and placing the screw.
Once the implant is done, the dentist will leave it for a few days to heal. 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 new teeth the 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 coming from the surgery site, 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.
- Swelling – Swelling is a normal part of the process. After your surgery, you’ll likely experience 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.
- 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.
- 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 dental implant placement. 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.
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 Determine the Cost of Dental Implant
- Quality of Dental Implant Materials – The material you choose for your implant screw, crown, and abutment has a great influence on your dental implants’ costs.
- Number of Implants – The more 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 those problems first. These treatment costs will add to the total cost of dental implants.
FAQs About Dental Implants