According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 36 million women and men in the United States suffer from edentulism (complete toothlessness). Another 120 million suffer from partial edentulism (missing at least one tooth).
Missing teeth affect your oral health, your digestive health, and sometimes even your mental health. Even though you can’t regrow a missing tooth, dental implants are the next best thing. Unlike other tooth-replacement systems, such as dentures and bridges, dental implants consist of individual false teeth that are anchored into your jawbone.
At Affordable Dental East, our skilled and caring dentist, Ben Mohrman, DDS, recommends dental implants as a gold-standard tooth replacement system whenever possible. Not everyone can get implants, however. If you’re ready to replace missing teeth and enhance your smile, read on to learn more about implants — and if they’re right for you.
Dental implants are false teeth and tooth roots that mimic the appearance and function of a natural tooth. They’re distinct from dentures, another common option for people with missing teeth. Dentures are a type of removable prosthesis, while implants are permanently fixed into your mouth.
Each implant has three components:
The titanium post is inserted deeply into your jawbone so that when you chew, the bone is stimulated to create new bone cells. Dental implants are the only tooth-replacement system that stimulates bone growth. This means that dental implants help prevent jawbone atrophy.
Dental implants look, feel, and function as if they were your natural teeth. Each one fits perfectly into the gap left by a missing tooth. You can get one implant, several, or a whole mouthful. Dental implants improve your health and outlook by:
Dental implants are strong and sturdy, and you treat them just like real teeth. If you’ve had dentures in the past, you’ll be relieved that you don’t — and can’t — remove implants for cleaning each night. Just brush, floss, and visit the dentist twice yearly.
Unfortunately, dental implants aren’t ideal for every patient. To be considered as a candidate for dental implants, you should have the following:
Smoking delays healing and affects the success of your implants. So, if you want implants and you smoke, you now have another good reason to quit. Also, if you have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, be sure to let us know.
Successful dental implants require adequate jaw bone to support the titanium post. If you don’t have enough jawbone, however, you may still have options. We may suggest a minimally invasive bone graft to add mass to your bone. You have to wait for the graft to “take” before the implant process.
Dental implants are the next-best option to healthy natural teeth and can make you feel like a new person. If you’re ready to explore your implant options, contact us to find out if dental implants are right for you. To request an appointment, call our friendly office staff or book online.