If you're missing teeth, or are frustrated with a continuous cycle of expensive dental problems, you're not alone. Millions of people in the United States have lost one or more teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, or trauma. Millions more feel discouraged with an uphill physical, emotional, and financial battle against their failing dental health. While there are a number of ways to reinforce failing teeth and replace missing teeth, dental implants often provide the best long-term results and the best quality of life.
Are there any long-term solutions for failing and missing teeth, or will I end up wearing dentures like my great grandparents?
Dental implants are artificial teeth that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Surprisingly, this process often requires less anesthetic than a simple filling! Strong and stable, dental implants are a great alternative for natural teeth replacement. This procedure has become a popular option in dental reconstruction, with over half a million implants placed every year in the USA alone. Additionally, a dental implant is the only FDA-approved medical implant designed to last a lifetime when maintained properly.
Here are some of the ways a dental implant, or multiple, can be placed:
Replacing a Single Tooth: A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth.
Replacing Several Teeth: An implant-supported bridge is similar to a regular dental bridge, but it is supported by implants and not by natural teeth. By not involving the adjacent teeth, they are not compromised, damaged or destroyed. An implant-supported bridge will feel more secure and comfortable than a removable partial denture, which rests on, and often damages, the gums.
Replacing All of Your Teeth: In some cases, the entire arch of teeth may need to be replaced. Historically, many people chose to have dentures made because they felt dentures were more affordable. When you consider the additional cost of fixatives, cleaning solutions and denture replacement, as well as the disadvantages of slippage, discomfort and even pain, dental implants are a far superior solution and create a higher quality of life.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Dental implants are built to last. They provide an ideal long-term and cost-effective option when in need of dental replacement. You will no longer feel self-conscious about missing teeth.
- Implants protect your jawbones and help preserve your natural bone against further health issues. Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.
- Other teeth do not need to be ground down or disturbed to hold an implant in place.
- Unlike removable dentures, dental implants are placed in your mouth and do not need to be removed for maintenance. Implants provide a secure, comfortable fit that looks and feels natural, without the slipping of normal dentures. This allows you to talk and eat normally without inconvenience.
Do you have questions about dental implants and if they're right for you? Visit our ask-a-dentist tool to get answers from the experts.
Dr. Tristan J. Parry DDS, FAGD, is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, an Accreditation Candidate in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a Reviewer of The Academy of General Dentistry’s Editorial ‘General Dentistry,’ and an Advisory Circle Member for the American Dental Association.