Considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option? Our Kelowna dentists explain exactly what they are, and the advantages and disadvantages of this common procedure.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants permanently replace missing teeth. Held in place with a tiny titanium rod implanted into the patient’s jaw bone, the implant serves as the root of the artificial tooth.
Due to its ability to form a strong bond with bone, titanium is used. Titanium implants are strong, safe alternatives to dentures. After that, we cover the dental implant with a dental crown that imitates a natural tooth.
Together, the implant and the cap look and function just like your natural tooth.
Advantages of Having Dental Implants
Dental implants offer several advantages, including:
Any number of teeth, including all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw, can be replaced with dental implants. Other treatment options, like a bridge or denture, can be combined with implants.
The number of actual implants you need or can get will depend on your unique circumstances, requirements, and jaw bone density. Because they can be configured in a variety of ways, dental implants are a popular choice for many patients.
Provided you properly care for your dental implant, it can last a lifetime. A proper at-home oral care routine is a must, as are regular visits to your dental office for cleanings and exams.
Other factors including nutrition, genetics or the development of dental diseases can also impact the longevity of your dental implant.
Natural Look & Feel
As mentioned above, your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, will look and function just like your natural tooth.
No one should be able to tell you to have artificial teeth, and you should be able to eat, speak, and function normally while enjoying a higher quality of life. You will not feel any sensations because there are no nerves in a dental implant.
Instead, any feelings you have about your dental implant will be caused by the soft tissue surrounding the implant. After your implant has healed and you've gotten used to it, you'll probably notice very little difference between it and your natural teeth.
Easy to Care For
Dental implants, like bridges, crowns, and other restorations, can be cared for in the same way that natural teeth are. They will require thorough brushing and flossing, and they will be checked by your dentist during your regular exams.
Potential Disadvantages of Dental Implants
Depending on the nature of your case, dental implants may not be for you. Here are some aspects of dental implants you may want to consider:
While dental implants may look and feel somewhat more natural than dental bridges, the dental implant process is lengthier and more invasive.
Depending on your treatment plan and your specific case, the entire dental implant procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 9 months to complete.
The cost of dental implants varies depending on your insurance coverage and the nature of your dental problem. While some insurance companies cover a portion of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants, and still, others may not cover anything.
Check with your insurance provider to learn whether your insurance plan will cover your treatment.
In addition to the aforementioned requirements, your jawbone must be sufficiently dense for dental implant treatment to be successful. If not, you might still be a candidate for the procedure, but a bone graft would be necessary to add bone to your jaw so that it can support the implant. This would lengthen the procedure and make it more intrusive.
How do I know whether dental implants or other options are right for me?
While dental implants, bridges, and other restorations all have their benefits, the right choice for you will depend on your oral health needs, budget and other factors.
Ultimately, you’ll need to discuss your case with your dentist to find out which tooth-replacement option would work best for you.