If you’re missing any permanent teeth, you know how it can affect your daily life. Knowing you’re missing teeth can cause you to smile less and not feel as good about yourself as you could. Lost teeth can also make it more difficult to eat certain foods or pronounce words correctly.
If you’re considering dental implants to replace your missing teeth, you probably have a lot of questions. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Dental Implants, Exactly?
A dental implant is a titanium post that is inserted into the jawbone. It works like an artificial tooth root, holding a replacement tooth securely in place. Many people choose dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth because implants are more permanent and natural-looking than dentures that can be removed from the mouth.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
In order to get dental implants, you will need to have healthy gums and bones. Your family dentist can tell if you would be a good candidate for dental implants by examining your teeth and mouth. Tobacco smoking decreases the success rate for dental implants and may cause complications. Most dentists urge patients to quit smoking before getting dental implants.
What Happens During the Procedure?
Dental implant surgery is a minor outpatient procedure. You will be given a local anesthetic, and then your dentist will make an incision in your gum to access the jaw bone. Your dentist will then drill a hole in the bone and insert the dental implant. Dentists usually wait three to six months before attaching the replacement tooth or teeth. This is to ensure the implant fuses correctly to your jaw bone.
How Do You Care for Your Implants?
Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth. You will need to care for them much like you do for your other teeth. Regular brushing and flossing are required. Dental implants can’t get cavities, but you can develop gum problems if you don’t keep them clean. You should also be sure to keep all your dental appointments since your dentist needs to check your implants periodically. Make sure to tell your dentist if you have any problems, such as bleeding or discomfort.
What is the Success Rate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants have a very high success rate. According to the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness, over 95 percent of the procedures are successful.
Do Dental Implants Last Forever?
If taken care of properly, dental implants can last throughout your lifetime. They are considered a permanent solution to the problem of missing teeth. By comparison, removable bridges typically only last ten years, while partial dentures last just three to five years.
What is the Cost of Dental Implants?
Many factors contribute to the cost of your dental implants. One such factor is whether you need just one tooth replaced or several. Another factor is your dental insurance and what it covers. According to the Canadian Dental Association, some dental plans may not cover implants. At your initial examination, ask your dentist for a cost estimate. You may also need to contact your insurance company to see if they cover any of the cost.
The decision to get dental implants can be life-changing. Consider these factors, and contact your dental office if you have any further questions.