If you are missing teeth, you’ve undoubtedly explored different options for replacing them. Should you get dentures, a bridge, dental implants, or something else?
In this article, we’ll focus on dental implants, discussing the pros and cons to give you the information you need to help make a decision about replacing your missing tooth/teeth. As always, if you have any questions, you’re welcome to contact us.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are inserted through your gums into your jawbone. They replace the roots of your natural teeth, and provide an anchor upon which replacement teeth are placed. According to the American Dental Association, "the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years."
Pros of Dental Implants
They provide a permanent solution: Many people opt for dental implants because they are permanent. Once the titanium post is fused to your jawbone, it won’t move for a long time. That means you never have to remove the implant to clean it, like dentures. It won’t get lost and will be very difficult to break. You won’t need a replacement implant any time soon, if ever.
They won’t slip or move:
Because implants fuse to your jawbone, they are very secure. Eating with dentures or bridges can be frustrating. They can slip and pinch your gums when eating or speaking. Dentures can fall out at embarrassing times. But not implants; they hold fast to the jawbone and provide a much more comfortable experience.
They look and feel natural:
Dental implants are designed and shaped to look just like your natural teeth. Even the color will match the shade of your teeth, providing a natural look and a smile you can be proud of.
They can be treated just like natural teeth:
Not only do implants look natural, you can treat and clean them just like your natural teeth. If you can eat something with your natural teeth, you can eat it with implants. Caring and cleaning for your implants requires brushing and flossing, just like your natural teeth. In fact, dental implants can seem so natural you might even forget it’s actually a fake tooth!
They support healthy bone structure:
If you lose a tooth, your jawbone will slowly start to shrink. Since the bone no longer needs to support the roots, it simply fades. When this happens, the gums also begin to recede. Dentures cannot help prevent this because the fake teeth merely sit on top of the gums, but dental implants are different. The titanium posts act as roots for the teeth, giving the jawbone something to grab hold of and a reason to stay strong.
They stand on their own:
Replacement solutions like dental bridges require nearby teeth. A fake tooth is placed in between your natural teeth to “bridge” the gap, but it is dependent on those natural teeth to stay in place. Because dental implants are held fast by the titanium posts, the nearby teeth do not need adjustments. In fact, dental implants can replace every tooth in your mouth if that is your requirement.
Cons of Dental Implants
Many people shy away from dental implants because of the cost. However, when you consider the permanent nature of implants, they actually provide tremendous value. It’s often cheaper and less stressful to get one solution that lasts for decades instead of a solution that needs replacing or updating every couple of years.
They take time:
Placing dental implants is a multi-step process. First, we need to assess your situation to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. Then, we place the titanium posts into your jawbone and need to provide time for the bone to properly fuse to your implants. This can sometimes take several months. Fortunately, we can provide a temporary fake tooth or teeth so you don’t have to walk around with nothing but titanium posts. Once the titanium posts are secure, we apply the permanent replacement tooth.
They require strong bone structure:
Because implants require strong bone structure, some patients may require bone grafting. This process restores the strength of your jawbone, but requires 3 months time to heal before implants can be placed.
If you’d like to learn more about dental implants, or if you’re ready to improve your smile, then contact us at our Mullins, SC dental office and schedule a consultation.
Dr. Blevins is one of South Carolina’s most accomplished dentists and has extensive experience providing patients with implants. He is passionate about restoring people’s smiles and will analyze your specific needs to identify the best solution.