When you’re missing teeth, sometimes it seems like there’s nothing to smile about. Fortunately, replacing lost dentition is a practice dentists are well familiar with. One of the most effective ways to fill those gaps is by using dental implants. Even though it is a safe and very effective treatment, it still isn’t the best option for everyone. Here are some dental implant pros & cons that may help you make such an important decision.
At Smile Design Dental, we know it’s important that our patients understand the choices they make about dental health. Our staff in offices located throughout the Broward County area are ready to help answer any questions you might have about dental implants or any other service. If you’re a patient located near Coral Springs, Ft. Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Margate, and Plantation, FL, call us to schedule your consultation!
Replacing lost teeth isn’t a novel concept. Civilizations have been inserting wood, bone and even metal false teeth into jaws for millennia. Today, the practice is much more efficient, using materials that mimic the look, feel and texture of natural teeth almost exactly! Dental implants provide a permanent solution to missing teeth that can be enjoyed for decades to come.
The implant procedure uses three separate pieces: the actual implant itself, an abutment and the crown. An implant is made from titanium, a material that reacts very well with bone. A crown is a false tooth that can be constructed from a variety of different materials and is secured to the implant with the abutment. The process itself can take many months but in the end, patients generally have a natural-looking, healthy smile!
To better understand if dental implants are right for you, it’s important to understand how the dentist makes them part of your life. The treatment includes sitting for several procedures with ample time for healing in between. This makes it a somewhat time-intensive process that may take months to complete. After the initial consultation and x-rays, your dentist will have a better idea of the treatment’s length and will outline each step in detail.
First, your doctor needs to install the implant. For some patients, there isn’t enough bone density for such a process and a bone graft may be necessary. The implant is seated below the gum into the jaw, but it still needs to strengthen in that position. For a few months, your jaw will heal as osseointegration allows the bone to form around the implant, making it the perfect place to seat a crown.
A second procedure will insert the abutment, and depending upon the type of crown chosen, the doctor will attach the final replacement or a temporary false tooth. Some crowns need to be manufactured at specific labs off-site and can take up to two weeks to complete. False crowns allow the area to heal while you wait!
Advantages of Dental Implants
There are a lot of reasons why someone would choose to use dental implants. Aside from the safety and efficacy of the procedure, many patients love the idea of false teeth that are securely fastened to their jaws. Because it is such a tried-and-true treatment, there are many advantages to choosing it.
The Natural Look (and Feel): Properly installed dental implants will look and feel just like your original teeth. The titanium used to create dental implants bonds very well with bone, creating an artificial tooth that is, in some ways, even stronger than the natural tooth it is replacing. This makes each bite with your implants feel just like natural dentition!
Modern technology has made crowns look and feel much better as well. They are manufactured using several materials, including:
- Metals such as gold or stainless steel
- Porcelain or porcelain-covered cores
- Pressed ceramic
While metallic crowns will be easier to notice, they do provide superior durability. Porcelain options, including a coating over a metal core, can be color-matched to your own teeth. This specialized tinting process allows them to disappear amongst your natural dentition!
Easier to Care For: Dentures and bridges are two common alternatives to dental implants. A set of removable false teeth need to be cleaned on a nightly basis, soaking them in a solution that helps to remove collected bacteria. Bridges may require special cleaning tools to ensure the area around the structure is free from food particles. In either case, standard brushing and flossing is no longer enough to keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean.
Dental implants don’t suffer from that problem. Because they are permanently attached to your mouth and act just like your normal teeth, they don’t require any additional attention. Following your dentist’s recommended oral hygiene advice and visiting their office for biannual checkups is all you need to ensure your new smile is looking fantastic and staying secure!
Improved Oral Health: Another reason why dental implants are a good idea involves how they affect your mouth. Because dentures only sit atop the gums, they do little to help reinforce and support jaw bone strength. As time goes by, more and more of the jaw may deteriorate away, leaving patients with sagging cheeks and a prematurely-aged-looking face.
Conversely, dental implants actually help to increase bone density. The act of chewing and natural pressures placed on your teeth puts pressure on the roots, helping to stimulate bone growth and maintain density. Titanium implants perform a similar task, allowing bone to grow and maintain its durability for years. In addition, they help to keep the surrounding dentition stable as there is no gap above or below the gumline for teeth to slide into.
Exceedingly Durable: Implants are easier to care for and actually improve your oral health, which helps to make them much more durable than their counterparts. Bridgework can be sensitive and needs replacing after around 15 years. Dentures are even less reliable and patients should be fitted for new ones as frequently as five-year intervals, and that doesn’t even include accidental breakages thanks to their removability!
Dental implants are strongly seated in the jawbone, surrounded by dense bone with a crown securely attached. This allows the treatment to last a lifetime, though crowns may need replacing after around 15 years with a simple procedure. Even then, with proper oral hygiene and attention to the foods you eat, the false teeth can last even longer. Once you have undergone the treatment, maintaining a fantastic smile is a breeze.
Disadvantages of the Treatment
Even though it has a high success rate, dental implants aren’t for everyone. Some patients may find certain aspects of the treatment undesirable, or there may be additional complications that remove it as an option. Make sure you discuss these drawbacks with your doctor before electing to proceed.
Time-Intensive: It can be difficult for some patients to commit to a months-long oral care plan. Your mouth must heal between each phase of the treatment, as osseointegration needs to take place after installation while the gums and jaw heal. If the patient’s bone doesn’t have the density required for the implant procedure, even more time needs to be set aside while graft is performed and healed. In all, it can take up to a year for the entire plan to be complete.
Required Surgery: The dental implant installation process required outpatient surgery to seat the false titanium root into the jaw. Bone grafts are another essential procedure, requiring surgery as well. If you are someone who wants to avoid the complications associated with any surgical procedure, dental implants may not be right for you.
Cost Prohibitive: Many insurance companies consider dental implant treatments to be cosmetic in nature. Since plans won’t cover the procedure, it can be an expensive prospect for many patients. To help our clients, we offer both in-house financing options as well as accepting CareCredit and LendingClub accounts.
Poor Candidacy: Not everyone can elect to have this procedure. There are a number of factors that may restrict what kind of treatment plan available to you, including:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Initial oral health
- Radiation therapy recipients (in the jaw and neck area)
- Still-developing dentition
- Restrictive medications
- Smoking/chewing tobacco use
Any one of these conditions may make it unlikely that you are a good candidate for dental implants. Even so, your dentist will be able to advise you on the best treatment plan to renew your self-confidence and the look of your smile.
Are Dental Implants Worth It?
After reviewing dental implants pros & cons, you might still have questions regarding the treatment plan. It’s understandable to have concerns about oral surgery and permanent changes to your oral health. Even so, dental implants are one of the most successful procedures utilized in dentistry today.
If you have more questions about dental implant procedures in the Broward County area, the expert team at Smile Design Dental is ready to address your concerns. Call us to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Coral Springs, Ft. Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Margate, and Plantation, FL. We’re waiting to help give you a smile that lasts a lifetime!