Dental implants are a great alternative to dentures and bridges. A bridge can negatively affect the other teeth around it. It involves shaving them down, and having them support weaker teeth. This can damage them over a long period of time, and bridges need to be replaced at least twice over your lifetime.
What about dentures? They come with their own set of problems. They click when you talk, or can slip out. They make chewing difficult. And most people with dentures are self-conscious about having them, even though they need them.
A dental implant doesn’t have any of these problems. They last for the rest of your life. They almost never need to be replaced. In fact, 99% of dental implant procedures are successful. They are just like your real teeth, so they won’t click or make you self-conscious. You won’t have to worry about chewing food or damaging your other teeth.
We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about dental implants. Then you’ll understand why they’re a better alternative than bridges and dentures.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are manmade teeth that are implanted into your head. They are fused to your jawbone. This is why they look and feel like your real teeth. They actually become a part of your body. You can use the implants to replace any number of teeth, including all of your teeth.
Dental implants are used to replace teeth that you have lost. However, everyone isn’t a candidate for a dental implant. You have to be relatively healthy, especially in the jaw area. If you’ve got any chronic illnesses or you’ve had some type of radiation done to your head or neck area, your dentist will have to evaluate you on an individual basis to see if you can get dental implants.
How Are Implants Performed?
First, your dentist makes a plan that is tailored to you. Then he takes a mold of your mouth. Your implants have to look like the rest of your teeth. They will be the same color, height, width, etc. as the rest of your teeth. They will go in the spaces where your teeth are missing.
The next part involves infusing a titanium screw to your jaw. It sounds painful, but you may not be awake for it. This is a surgical procedure, so anesthetic will be administered accordingly.
The screw will be put in the same spot as your missing tooth. (If you are replacing all of your teeth, you’ll only have four screws in your mouth.) Then your gum tissue will have to grow around it. This usually takes 6-12 weeks. After that, you’ll come back to have an abutment, or pole, attached to the screw. Your mouth will need to heal from that as well.
The last part of the procedure is having a crown put over the abutment. A crown is the top part of the tooth, the part that you see when you open your mouth. The crown your dentist makes is going to fit onto the screw he put in your mouth. Then you’ll have an implant that looks just like your other teeth.
How Long Will the Procedure Take?
This procedure takes anywhere from 3 to 9 months. It may take ever more time, depending on how long it takes for you to heal. The surgery isn’t what takes up the most time. The healing is what takes up the most time. It takes weeks – sometimes months – to heal after each part of the surgery is performed. But, because they last for a lifetime, the time spent may be worth it.
How Do I Treat the Implants Once I Get Them?
Your dentist will give you instructions on how to take care of your implants. Basically, you treat them like you do any of your other teeth. They need to be flossed and brushed regularly to prevent decay. If there are any special instructions, he will let you know.
Will My Insurance Cover My Implants?
Unfortunately implants aren’t usually covered under your insurance. They’re considered a cosmetic procedure. Unless you’ve been in an accident, or you need implants for a medical reason, your insurance may only cover part of the procedure at best.
You need to talk to your dentist about insurance coverage. He’ll know which parts of your dental implants are covered, if any.
There is a lot of information to take in before you decide if you want to get dental implants or not. Weigh the pros against the cons. It may take a long time, and it may be expensive, but it may be worth it. You’ll have teeth that you can be proud of, that won’t slip out or click when you talk.