Dental implants, like bridges and dentures, are used to restore teeth that have been lost due to injury, gum disease or decay.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dentists in the United States complete more than 5 million implants every year, and the procedure is considered to be one of the safest and most effective methods of tooth replacement.
The following information can help you decide if implants are right for you.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a natural-looking, long-term solution for a missing tooth (or teeth). Essentially, the procedure involves placing a titanium post into the jawbone to replace the natural tooth’s root and attaching an abutment to connect the post to a crown.
The shape and color shade of the crown are matched to the neighboring teeth, making the implant nearly indistinguishable from the natural teeth. Unlike bridges and dentures, these dental restorations are stable and comfortable and do not slip or shift in the mouth. And, with proper oral hygiene and dental care, implants can last a lifetime.
Who Can Benefit from Dental Implants?
The ADA recommends replacing missing teeth as quickly as possible, as they can affect your bite and how you speak, as well as your appearance. More important, without dental restoration, bone loss occurs around the lost teeth, which can eventually cause the nearby teeth to fail.
Anyone healthy enough for routine dental treatment and whose jaw has finished growing is a good candidate for implants. These restorations can replace multiple teeth and often are used to provide greater stability and functionality to bridges and dentures.
This procedure is also successful in patients with gum disease, as long as the condition is treated and proper oral health care habits are established.
Other Factors to Consider
Certain conditions can affect whether dental implants are the right type of restoration for you. Chronic illnesses, such as leukemia or diabetes, particularly if they are uncontrolled, can slow the healing process.
Degenerative bone disease, cancer and radiation exposure to the head and neck area can affect how the implants fuse with the jawbone.
Smoking is also a consideration, as it can cause problems with healing, and according to some studies, it can increase the chances of implant failure over time.
Patients who have experienced bone loss in the jawbone may require a bone graft as part of the implant procedure in order to enable the jaw to support the restoration.
When a graft is required, the process for getting dental implants will involve several procedures over the course of at least three months. Once complete, however, the restoration will be stable, attractive and reliable.
If you are missing teeth and would like to restore your healthy smile, an experienced oral health care professional can advise you on your treatment options. Contact Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of Salt Lake City today to schedule a consultation. We will evaluate your case and advise you on the possibility of improving your oral health with dental implants.