People of all ages can have dental implants, and they can be a suitable solution for almost anyone missing one, many, or even all of their teeth for a variety of reasons such as defects, injury, disease or decay. Dental implants are even suitable for adolescents after puberty when the jaw has finished growing – typically 16 years for girls and 18 years for boys.
A quick consultation with an implant dentist can determine whether dental implants would be suitable for you, taking into account both your needs and your medical and dental history.
When replacing a tooth with a dental implant, the implant is set into the jawbone allowing it to fuse with your natural bone, becoming a solid, secure foundation for your replaced teeth. The versatile nature of dental implants means not only a single tooth but several teeth can be replaced using an implant-supported bridge.
Dental implants are widely regarded as being the closest you’ll get to natural, healthy teeth, allowing you to eat, laugh, smile, play and enjoy your everyday activities with confidence without being conscious of your teeth.
- Dental implant – a substitute tooth root usually consisting of a titanium cylindrical and/or tapered post
- Abutment – the part of the implant that connects the replacement tooth or teeth to the dental implant
- Crown – a custom-made replacement tooth, matching your natural teeth
- The dental implant, usually a titanium tapered and/or cylindrical post is surgically set into the jawbone.
- The implant will osseointegrate (fuse) with your jawbone as you heal. The two will bond together to form a long-lasting, strong foundation for your replaced teeth – this process can take several weeks, or in some cases months while you continue with your daily life between appointments.
- When the bonding process is finished, a connector called an abutment is then placed onto the top of the implant to allow the tooth to be connected to the dental implant.
- Depending on the patient’s requirements, a single tooth, dentures or an implant-supported bridge are then connected to the abutment.
Dental implants are a safe, effective and proven method for the replacement for the foundation of the natural tooth as a whole – the tooth root. Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, they form a strong, sturdy base for your tooth replacements.
There are several types of dental implants available, including:
- Endosteal implants – these are those most commonly used type of implant. They are typically shaped like screws, plates or cylinders, and are placed directly into the jawbone.
- Subperiosteal implants – usually placed beneath the gum, but either on or above the jawbone for patients with a shallow jawbone, or those who do not want to, or are unable to undergo the jawbone rebuild procedure.
Your dental implant dentist will have been trained to explain the various types and sizes of implants available and assist you in determining your options, depending on the tooth or teeth that need replacing.
Why are dental implants usually the first choice when repairing damaged or missing teeth?
- Almost indistinguishable from healthy, natural teeth. Dental implants are stable and strong, and look and function no differently to natural teeth. Other dental treatments may lead to deterioration of the jawbone and can interfere with speaking, eating, smiling and other aspects of daily life.
- Dental implants are a long-term solution and are built to last. The traditional method of using tooth-supported dental bridges may last several years if properly cared for – often up to 10 years – whereas dental implants can last a lifetime with the correct care and occasional adjustment made.
- No need to be self-conscious about your teeth. Worrying about going out in public where you feel people may judge you because your smile looks different, or that your dentures might fall out at the worst possible time is a thing of the past with dental implants. You’ll be able to smile, laugh, speak and eat with the knowledge that you, and not your teeth can lead your life.
- Keep a natural smile and face shape. Your face can sag and look sunken without teeth. With the use of dental implants, your smile and natural shape of your face can be maintained.
- Healthy bone protection. Empty spaces in your mouth from the loss of one or several teeth can attribute to further health problems such as the deterioration of your jawbone. Dental implants are the only solution proven to not only provide a lifelong solution, but actually help to protect and stimulate natural bone growth while preventing bone loss.
- Keep your teeth where they belong. With dental implants, you can keep your teeth in your mouth – not in a cup as with dentures. You are able to care for your dental implants exactly as you would with your natural teeth – you can floss and brush without the worry of them falling out.
- Speak naturally. Removable dentures often come with a separate set of issues – one being having to adjust to altering your speech, or struggling with pronouncing some words. As dental implants function in just the same way as natural teeth, you’re able to speak as normal.
- Continue eating your favourite foods. No more worrying about what foods you can or cannot eat. With dental implants, you can enjoy all of your favourite foods while biting naturally, enjoying the whole eating experience without any of the worry associated with dentures.
- No more cavities. Implant restored cavities or replacement teeth cannot suffer cavities, however, you should still care for your teeth regardless of this fact.
- Teeth stay in place – silently. Traditional dentures have a tendency to slip at the most unwanted of times – usually when you’re talking, smiling, laughing, kissing, yawning or coughing. When this happens, they usually need to be repositioned back into place. Not so with dental implants, which won’t shift, clock or move.
- Protect your natural, healthy teeth. In order to place a tooth-supported bridge, the sides of teeth either side of the missing tooth often need to be ground down, which damages otherwise healthy teeth to replace those that are missing. The bridge is supported by and attached to these healthy teeth. On the other hand, dental implants are inserted into the jawbone without affecting your healthy teeth, while also ensuring adjacent teeth don’t shift as they can when an empty space is left over time.
- More reliable than other methods. Dental implants have a proven record of being a long-term, reliable solution with predictable outcomes when compared with other dental treatment options such as dentures, bridgework and retreating endodontic (falling root canal) therapy.
Each and every dental implant treatment is as unique as the patients themselves, meaning the number of necessary appointments, procedures and costs can vary. After consulting with a dental implant dentist who will examine and assess your specific needs, they will provide a customized treatment plan that will estimate the cost and number of appointments required, and keep you updated with any necessary amendments throughout the process.
As dental implants are intended to be a long-term solution, they invariably last much longer than other available treatments, but cost no more than other tooth replacement procedures.
While the initial outlay may be slightly higher for dental implants compared to a bridge, over the long term a bridge has to be replaced more frequently, incurring a higher long-term cost. Overall, patient satisfaction is much higher when using dental implants over traditional dentures and bridges.
Contemporary dental implants have proven to be an effective, safe method for replacing missing teeth for over 30 years.
Typical dental implants are made from titanium which is biocompatible, meaning that is easily accepted by the body, serving as a sturdy foundation for tooth replacement. A process called osseointegration takes place when an implant is inserted into your bone, which fuses to the implant, locking it into place. The process ensures your replacement teeth are fully stabilised and strong enough to withstand daily use, functioning just the same as natural, healthy teeth.
Dental implant surgery is proven to be one of the most safe and predictable dental procedures when performed by a trained and experienced dentist. Allowing your replacement teeth to look, feel and work as they would naturally while simultaneously stimulating bone growth beneath the missing tooth, dental implants are the strongest device currently available for supporting replacement teeth.
If one or more of your teeth are missing, then dental implants are probably right for you! Most people in good health and whose jaw has finished developing are good candidates, whether they were born with one or more teeth missing or have lost one or more teeth from injury, periodontal (gum) disease, infection, decay or any other reason. Dental implants are also an option for people who can no longer wear, or don’t want the related drawbacks of traditional removable dentures.
A consultation with a dental implant expert is the best way to determine if you are a viable candidate. When you speak to a consultant, be sure to mention if you smoke, if you have any medical conditions even if they don’t seem relevant, and if you’re taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications.
It is normal to worry that dental implants may need specialist care to look after them, but teeth restored with dental implants are cared for no differently than your natural teeth. You brush, floss and maintain regular dental check-ups and cleaning just as you normally would. Your dental implant dentist may recommend supplementary cleaning aids to help you to keep your replacement teeth healthy at home.
Dental implants are still just as open to general wear and tear as with natural teeth, even if they can’t get cavities, so they need to be cared for to ensure the last as long as possible. With correct care and regular check-ups, dental implants could last you a lifetime.
Why do people have dental implants?
As the most natural feeling and looking tooth replacement method, dental implants are popular for a variety of other reasons. Unlike traditional methods such as bridges or dentures, they do not click or slip, enabling you to talk, laugh and eat without worry. Dental implants also help to maintain facial structure as they are the only tooth replacement procedure that helps to promote natural bone growth.
Dental implants – what are they?
Typically made from titanium, a biocompatible material that fuses well with natural bone, dental implants are usually cylindrical and/or tapered posts used to replace the tooth root. A connector piece, known as an abutment, is either built into or placed onto the dental implant which allows the replacement tooth or teeth to be sturdily connected. Lastly, the crown (the custom made replacement tooth) is connected to the dental implant using the abutment, finishing off the procedure.
What is the process for getting a dental implant?
The implant will be placed into your jawbone by your dentist, who should be a fully credentialed expert in dental implants. During the healing process, osseointegration will take place, meaning the implant will fuse with your natural bone, forming a strong, sturdy bond for the replacement tooth to be connected to. When the implant has fully bonded with your jawbone, a small connection piece is placed onto the dental implant allowing the replacement tooth to be connected to the implant.
Can any dentist provide my dental implant?
Being the sophisticated dental procedure that it is, requiring careful placement to avoid unnecessary complications or failure of the implant, dental implants should only be provided by a properly trained dental implant expert.
Where can I find a dental implant expert?
Qualified dental implant experts who have met key training, education and competency requirements can be found in a directory maintained by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID).
Are dental implants the right choice for me?
If you have one or more teeth missing and want a natural-looking, hassle-free smile that won’t embarrass you, then dental implants are most definitely the right choice for you.
Can’t decide between Dentures or Dental Implants? This checklist can help you choose which method is the better option for your needs.
Check all applicable boxes:
[ ] I need natural-looking replacement teeth.
[ ] I need a replacement tooth or teeth that can help me maintain my jaw bone.
[ ] I need a replacement tooth or teeth that can offer me value for my money over the long term.
[ ] I do not want the hassle of my replacement tooth or teeth clicking or slipping when I talk, eat or laugh.
[ ] I do not want the hassle of food lodging beneath my replacement teeth or between my gums.
[ ] I do not want to need to take my replacement tooth or teeth out of my mouth every night to clean/soak them.
[ ] I want a replacement tooth/teeth option that will last for many years to come.
[ ] I want a replacement tooth or teeth option that I can be sure that won’t move when I kiss someone.
Even if you only choose one of the above items, dental implants are most likely the best choice for you. They are able to provide all of the features in the above checklist, giving you increased confidence, letting your smile change outcomes.
If you decide dental implants are the right choice for you, it’s crucial that you pick a dental implant expert, because implants are highly sophisticated and customized devices. When searching for a dental implant expert in Kenosha, Pleasant Prairie, Winthrop Harbor or Racine, you can use the directory compiled by the American Academy of Implant Dentists which only lists AAID accredited dental implant dentists.
As the typical cost of a dental implant can vary from case to case, the AAID suggests you obtain an estimated price from a credentialed implant expert after examining your mouth and missing tooth or teeth. As they are customized for each patient to fit their mouth and match their existing teeth, dental implants require the knowledge and expert opinion of a dental implant specialist.
Even after an estimate has obtained, there is still the issue of deciding whether or not dental implants are the right choice for you. Before making such an important decision, there are three things you should know about and carefully consider.
Quality of Life with Dental Implants
Dental implants are the standard of excellence when it comes to tooth replacement, and it’s easy to see why they’re renowned for offering an excellent quality of life:
- Smile with confidence – as dental implants closely match your natural teeth, it would be difficult to distinguish between an implant and a natural tooth. Your dental implant expert will customize your dental implant, creating a realistic replacement tooth or teeth that will fit your mouth perfectly.
- They’ll stay in place – unlike traditional dentures that tend to slip, you can be sure your dental implants will stay right where they should be – in your mouth. Dentures can hinder almost all social interactions, making you feel self-conscious whenever you speak, eat, or laugh. But with dental implants, you can do all of these things safe in the knowledge that they won’t move as they’re firmly anchored to your jawbone, allowing you to live your life with confidence.
Dental Implants are Highly Cost Effective
Due to their typical longevity, dental implants are one of the most cost effective tooth replacement options available. While other options tend to have a lower initial cost, dental implants are proven to be a cost-effective treatment as they rarely, if ever need replacing if cared for properly. With only minimal maintenance required, dental implants will keep you and your accountant smiling for years to come!
Dental Implants Aid with Long Term Health
Compared with alternative tooth replacement procedures, dental implants offer a much higher quality-of-life regarding oral health. As the implant is inserted into your jawbone, the area beneath the missing tooth is stimulated, allowing for natural bone formation, while also ensuring the dental implant stays firmly in place. On the contrary, other options such as dentures do not allow for healthy bone growth, but rather leading to bone deterioration over time which can change your smile and the structure of your face. Furthermore, food can get wedged between removable dentures and your gums, often leading to discomfort and awkward social situations.
While the initial outlay for dental implants is an important factor when considering tooth replacement options, it is also important to think about other equally as important aspects such as quality of life, long-term cost effectiveness and your overall health. When all factors are considered, it is likely that dental implants will be the right choice for you.
While choosing dental implants as your tooth replacement method of choice is a big step, it is also important to ensure you choose an expert in dental implants, rather than any dentist.
The benefits of dental implants speak for themselves: natural looking teeth, fantastic lifetime value, improved confidence and healthy bone development. But what needs to be considered when choosing a dental implant expert?
First of all, it is important to be aware that a ‘dentist that does implants’ and a ‘dental implant expert’ differ significantly. As each case is as unique as each patient, it takes the knowledge and skill of a trained dental practitioner to provide you with a quality dental implant and comforting experience.
What do you need to look for in a dental implant expert?
- First and foremost, your dentist should be a licensed dental practitioner. Despite being highly important, this does not mean they are qualified or trained to fit dental implants.
- Secondly, it is recommended you use a dental implant expert who is specifically educated in the field of dental implants, meaning they should have 300+ house of postdoctoral or continued education in implant dentistry.
- Experience is a must – as dental implants are sophisticated pieces of dental technology, your dental implant expert should have at least a full year’s experience in implant dentistry.
- And finally, you should expect your dental implant expert to be competent. As an absolute minimum, they should have demonstrated their competence in implant dentistry, having been evaluated via a peer-evaluated, independent process. This requires the dentist to have successfully completed several dental implant procedures on a number of patients from an individual tooth to replacing several teeth.
Using this information, you can now begin to search for and interview dental practitioners to find one that you would be both comfortable using and suits your needs.
While this process can take up a significant amount of time, another option is to use the directory compiled by the AAID which only consists of accredited dental implant experts who have met stringent standards set by the AAID.
In monetary terms, it is easy to figure out the total cost of dentures. You have the initial outlay, and the recurring cost of replacement dentures, which can amount to thousands of dollars over a lifetime. Although the cost in dollars is clear, the real cost could be argued to be much greater when you consider the following factors:
Dentures have a “Social Cost”
While natural, healthy teeth present little to no issue socially, dentures can contribute to highly embarrassing social interactions. Due to their non-sturdy nature, dentures have a tendency to slip at the most unfortunate times, such as when you are eating, laughing, speaking, or kissing.
Dentures have a “Convenience Cost”
Instead of simply brushing and flossing as you would with your natural teeth, dentures have to be cared for in a completely different manner. They need to be removed from your mouth and rinsed, cleaned, brushed and then soaked overnight before having to rinse them again before being placed back in your mouth. As an additional inconvenience, you must ensure to handle them carefully so that they don’t run the risk of breaking if they are dropped or damaged during the cleaning procedure.
Dentures have a “Health Cost”
Your teeth, mouth and jaw all developed together as a functioning unit, and your teeth were intended to stay in place. However, if one or more teeth are lost, the jawbone beings to deteriorate slowly, which can weaken the natural bone, in turn altering the structure of your face. Dentures do not help to promote healthy bone growth as dental implants do, as the area beneath the missing teeth remains empty.
The “Better Value Alternative”
Another option to consider if you want to avoid the social, convenience and health costs associated with dentures are dental implants. Over the long term, dental implants have a similar financial cost to other traditional tooth replacement options, but without all the hassle and inconvenience, making them a fantastic value for money treatment.
The overall benefits of dental implants compared to dentures are clear:
- They don’t slip like dentures do as they become a part of your facial structure
- They can last a lifetime if properly cared for
- They are cared for exactly the same as your natural teeth
- They promote healthy bone development
If you are considering your tooth replacement options, dentures may be one of your top candidates. To help you decide, we think you should read our Top 5 Reasons Why People Choose Dentures, and our Top 5 Reasons Why People Don’t Choose Dentures.
Top 5 Reasons Why People Choose Dentures
- Dentures have a relatively low initial outlay. If you want to go for the lowest-costing option in the short term, then dentures are a good option.
- Dentures can be made quickly. As dentures can be made very quickly – days or even hours – then they’re a good option for those wanting or needing dentures right away.
- Dentures are available far and wide from many sources. Dentures can be provided quickly from a variety of sources – a quick internet search or drive to a busy retail area could be all it takes.
- Dentures have existed for centuries. As one of the more traditional methods for tooth replacement, dentures are an unsophisticated, easily made option.
- Dentures are made from easily sourced materials. Not requiring fancy materials or complete customization, dentures can be made quickly and easily at a variety of sources.
Top 5 Reasons Why People Don’t Choose Dentures
- Dentures can be less cost effective in the long term. Dentures typically need to be replaced quite often – usually every few years.
- Dentures don’t look as natural as other tooth replacement options. Dentures are more easily identifiable in comparison to other options, so keep this in mind if looks are important to you.
- Dentures can lead to bone disintegration. The space where the tooth or teeth used to be is not filled by dentures, which can lead to the disintegration of the jawbone and a change in facial structure.
- Dentures need to be taken out to be cleaned. Dentures cannot be brushed or flossed like natural teeth, but have to be taken out of the mouth to be cared for.
- Dentures can cause awkward social moments. As they can move and click during speaking, laughing, eating and kissing, embarrassment is one of the main reasons people choose not to have dentures.
Which of these reasons rung true with you? Are dentures right for your missing tooth or teeth?
If any or all of the Top 5 Reasons Why People Don’t Choose Dentures have you looking for a more natural-looking, hassle free solution for you missing teeth, then dental implants may be right for you.
- Dental implants won’t cause unnecessary embarrassment. Traditional tooth replacement options such as dentures can often make noises and even fall out, usually at the most unwanted of times. Because dental implants form the structure of your face through integration with your jawbone, they don’t make any noise and they can’t fall out. Their sturdy nature ensures you can enjoy all of your social interactions in your daily life without the worry of being embarrassed by the clicking and slipping associated with dentures.
- Dental Implants are the next best thing to natural teeth. Unfortunately for people who wear dentures, it is often noticeable that they are using a tooth replacement solution. Their gums might not quite look as they should, or their dentures don’t quite conform to the shape of their mouth.
- Dental implants provide all the benefits of a quality tooth replacement option with none of the drawbacks. They are custom made to match your existing healthy teeth and look almost identical to natural teeth. As they are fused to your jawbone, they cannot slip meaning they won’t become inadvertently misaligned: a common drawback of dentures. With dental implants, you can have a natural-looking smile without any worry of them looking slightly different to the rest of your teeth.
- What’s more is that dental implants not only look the part but feel similar to natural teeth, too. With the feel and sensation of natural teeth, you’ll soon forget that you had implants to replace any missing teeth. Yet another reason to show off your natural-looking smile!
- Dental implants ensure you stay healthy. Not only can dentures and other tooth replacement methods feel unnatural, but can eventually lead to the deterioration of the bone of your jaw. And it gets worse: over time this can cause your face to lose its shape and structure, making your face sag and appear sad. Furthermore, small food particles can become trapped between dentures and your gums, which can encourage the growth of bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to further health issues such as gum disease.
- Comparatively, because dental implants are inserted directly into your jawbone, they promote natural bone growth and development helping to maintain your facial integrity. This makes them a far superior option for tooth replacement. As dental implants are designed to effectively become a permanent replacement tooth or teeth, they or no more likely than your existing natural to trap food particles.
- Dental implants are the convenient option. Due to their robust, resilient nature, dental implants allow you to continue with your daily life exactly as you normally would, without any of the worry often associated with dentures.
- With proper are and regular check-ups, dental implants can last you a lifetime. Comparatively, dentures typically need to be replaced frequently due to several factors. One major issue contributing to the frequency of replacing dentures is that your jawbone can deteriorate and change shape over time, meaning they won’t fit over your lifetime.
- Another cause of inconvenience is the cleaning process involved with dentures. Cleaning dentures involves taking them out of your mouth and rinsing them; washing out your mouth; cleaning and brushing the dentures; soaking them overnight and then rinsing them before placing them back in the mouth. Not so with dental implants, which can be brushed, flossed and cared for exactly as you would with your natural teeth.