Are you self-conscious because you’re missing teeth? Are you wearing dentures that do not fit properly? If so, you needn’t feel alone—almost 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP).
In addition, nearly 40 million adults are edentulous, meaning they are missing all their teeth. But thankfully, whether you’re missing a single tooth or all your teeth, dental implants can help restore your smile.
Dental implants may seem like a daunting thing: How much do dental implants cost? Is it painful? Do they last a long time? How do permanent dentures affect your other teeth—or your speech?
Dental implants are made of titanium and other materials that the human body will accept. They are designed to last for years to come—without the hassle of nightly cleaning, removal, and storage, like you, would have with traditional dentures.
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? That’s okay! It’s natural to have lots of questions about implant-secured dentures. Below, we’ll discuss the process as well as its pros and cons.
Getting your implants installed, whether it’s for a single tooth or full mouth dental implants, requires some time and patience!
You are probably wondering whether you’ll be awake for the procedure.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will discuss which options are best for you. The dental implants can be installed while you are under local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. Each comes with benefits and risks to weigh.
For example, sedation and general anesthesia will make you groggy, and you’ll need someone to take you home after surgery. On the other hand, local anesthesia is much like you expect during other dental work, but it can be unnerving for some people to hear and experience the surgical process.
Once the anesthesia has been administered, the first task the oral surgeon will undertake is make a cut in your gums and expose the bone. Then, holes will be drilled into the bone so that the titanium post can be placed in your jawbone.
The post essentially replaces the tooth root—so it is implanted deep. You may need to eat only soft foods for a while after the procedure.
After surgery, the process of osseointegration will begin. This process is impressive when you think about it—the body sees the titanium post as the tooth root, so the jawbone grows into and combines with the implant. It can take several months for this process to complete.
Once osseointegration is complete, you will have an abutment placed. This is a small piece of equipment where the crown will eventually be attached.
It is a less invasive surgery than the post-placement, so it is typically performed with local anesthesia. The gums have to heal again for a few weeks before the artificial tooth is attached.
Now that the post has fused with the bone and your abutment has been placed, you will have to choose the type of artificial teeth you’d like. You can select removable, fixed, or a combination of the two types.
Removable teeth are similar to traditional dentures. It simply snaps onto the post and can be removed for cleaning or if repairs are needed.
Fixed teeth are permanently attached to the abutment. These teeth do not need to be removed for cleaning.
There are many benefits to selecting dental implants instead of conventional dentures:
Implants actually prevent bone loss as you would get with long-term denture use. They also help you maintain your facial structure.
Dentures can rub against your gums, particularly if they do not fit properly. You won’t get painful spots or pressure sores from dental implants.
Dental implants look fantastic. You can have this procedure done whether you’re young or old, or require one tooth implant or ten! You can get denture implants designed to suit your needs no matter what.
Although dental implants cost more upfront, they are designed to last for life. You won’t have to replace your dentures every few years when you have beautiful implants.
You can smile with confidence again with the help of dental implants. Curious about how to get started? Contact Dr. Desai for a free consultation to discuss treatment options that best fit you.