Dental implants are titanium screws or posts upon which your dentist places an artificial tooth, replacing missing or severely damaged teeth. Often, implants are considered when a patient’s teeth are damaged beyond repair by bonding or fillings, or when one or more teeth are missing. The metal screw is attached to the jaw bone, creating a sturdy base for your new fake teeth that functions just like your natural teeth. If properly cared for, dental implants can last just as long as real teeth, and can improve the function of your bite, the structure of your face, and the appearance of your mouth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
- Implants are more stable and durable than dentures and bridges, and in many cases, are more comfortable for the patient long-term. Whereas bridges may cause sores and discomfort, and need to be attached to a tooth on either side of the gap, implants can stand alone without affecting other teeth, and don’t need to be removed for cleaning, minimizing daily discomfort.
- Implants can add structure to your mouth; if you’re missing several teeth, your mouth may lose some of its stability and become weakened over time. By implanting a metal screw that fuses with the jaw bone, a dental implant can improve the strength of your jaw as a whole. This can improve the look of your smile in addition to making it easier to bite and chew.
Unfortunately, not all dental implants are covered by dental insurance, and tend to be more expensive than traditional dentures or bridges. If you’re concerned about cost, talk to your dentist about payment plans.
Dental implants aren’t your real teeth, but they still require proper care and maintenance. If you tend to forget to brush, or have an unreliable dental hygiene routine, dental implants might not be for you.
To be eligible for dental implants, you need to have a healthy jawbone and gums to support the bonding of the metal screw. If you’ve had jaw bone damage or if your gums are heavily receding, you may not have enough existing structure in your mouth to support an implant.
If you are missing teeth, or have several severely damaged teeth, speak with your dentist about dental implants. Once your dentist determines that implants are right for you, he or she will provide a procedure plan and instructions for recovery. If you care for your teeth and follow your dentist’s instructions, your dental implants can last up to 10 years or more.