We rely on our teeth a lot more than we think, and it is often not until we suffer from dental problems that we realize quite how much we need them. Not only do they help us to bite and chew our food, our teeth also help us to form sounds when we speak, shape our face and give us a smile that we can share with others. While most of us are raised to brush our teeth twice a day, it is a habit that easily slips as we get older and busier. Unfortunately, poor dental hygiene combined with bad habits and a poor diet packed full of manufactured and convenience food means that tooth loss is a significant problem for many of the U.S. population. In fact, by the age of 50 the average American will have lost in the region of 12 permanent teeth.
The consequences of lost teeth aren’t just physical. Many patients find that teeth that are in poor condition or gaps in their smile can cause them to feel embarrassed, unattractive and even ashamed. Fortunately, there are treatments that can rectify the situation. If you require a dental extraction, if you have an existing gap in your smile or if you have a bridge that requires replacement, your dentist may have spoken to you about dental implants as a way to restore the function and appearance of your teeth.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a modern, innovative dental solution that has transformed the way in which dentists are now able to replace teeth that have been lost or removed as a result of damage or decay. Not only can they take the place of single missing teeth, it is also possible to support several or even an entire arch of teeth on several dental implants.
The design of implants is completely unique and comprises of two key elements. These are:
A titanium post. This is inserted into the jaw bone via the gums and acts as an artificial root for the tooth. After it has been placed the bone will grow back around it, anchoring it permanently to your jaw.
A prosthetic tooth. This is usually made from a porcelain crown and created specifically for your smile. It is attached to the implant post using a special connector. It is important to note that in most instances, patients will be fitted with a temporary crown while the bone heals around the implant post. Only after this will the final, permanent crown be created and then secured to the post.
If you have a single missing tooth, you will be provided with a single dental implant post and prosthetic. However, if you are missing more than one tooth, a bridge or arch of prosthetics can be created and secured on as few as two or four implant posts. Your dentist will discuss this with you at your consultation.
Why choose dental implants?
There are a number of reasons why an increasing number of patients are now opting for dental implants over alterative tooth replacement solutions.
Strength & Durability
One of the most common reasons why patients are turning to dental implants is because they are considered to be the most robust and long-lasting of all replacement tooth solutions. The anchoring of the implant post into the jaw bone creates a virtually unbreakable bond and a tough, porcelain prosthetic will last well with care. With the right attention, dental implants have been shown to last decades.
Natural, attractive, comfortable and discreet
Some types of tooth replacement look more natural than others. Dental implants are considered to be the most natural of all and will look and feel just like your regular teeth once you have got used to it being there. Better still, implants are secure enough to not slip around or move about when you are using your mouth, meaning that no one will realize that the tooth is artificial.
With dental implants there is no need to remove the artificial tooth for any reason, such as for eating, kissing, sneezing or even cleaning. Some other alternatives such as bridges and dentures are known for presenting challenges when it comes to certain situations. For example, patients wearing dentures often fear eating anything sticky or chewy for fear that it will pull their temporarily-secured dentures around or even out of their mouth. There is no such issues with dental implants.
Better oral health
Since they are permanent, there is no need or way to remove them to clean your teeth. This isn’t a problem. With implants you can brush your teeth just as you would do normally, and even floss. These are vitally important actions to keep your teeth, including your implant, looking great and free from food debris and staining. Robust cleaning and flossing are also essential if you are to remain free from periodontal disease – an inflammatory condition that affects the gums and can actually put the success of your implants at risk.
The highest success rate of any surgically-implanted device
If you are a good candidate for dental implants, you will be delighted to learn that the procedure as a 98% success rate – the highest of any surgically-implanted device in the world.
If you are considering dental implants and would like more information about the procedure and the benefits that this revolutionary treatment can offer you and your smile, please don’t hesitate to contact us and make an appointment in our Mt Pleasant, SC office with our experienced and professional dental team.