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What are Dental Implants?

When a child loses a baby tooth, it’s a time for celebration. However, if an adult loses a permanent tooth, there may be something more serious going on. If you are one of the millions of adults who are suffering from tooth loss, consider contacting the professionals at Esteem Dental Implants.

What Causes Permanent Teeth to Fall Out?

There are several reasons why you may be losing your permanent teeth. There may be some genetic reasons, or you may have experienced a traumatic injury or tooth decay.

Below are some of the most common reasons adults lose their teeth:

Gum Disease

The primary cause of tooth loss in adults is periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. This is an infection in the gums. When gum disease reaches a point to where the alveolar bone is being destroyed, teeth will loosen and ultimately fall out or require extraction.

Tooth Decay

When left untreated, cavities destroy both the tooth as well as lead to infection in the jawbone.

Injury

Trauma can either knock the tooth out immediately or cause damage that may progress to the point where the tooth must ultimately be extracted. If you play sports, it’s best to use a mouthguard.

Fracture

Fractured teeth are often the result of bruxism, also known as teeth grinding. In some cases, a crown will work. However, depending on the location of the fracture and how deep it goes, the tooth may not respond to repair and may require extraction.

Risk Factors for Tooth Loss

Some of the risk factors for tooth loss in adults includes the following:

Poor oral hygiene

Patients who do not regularly practice good oral hygiene habits are more likely to develop bacteria including tartar and plaque which can ultimately cause tooth decay. By practicing proper oral hygiene, you can keep these problems at bay.

Not going to the dentist regularly

You should visit the dentist at least once, if not twice, yearly for a deep cleaning and exam. This will help prevent tartar and plaque buildup, as well as catch any potential issues early before they become a major issue.

Smoking

If you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, you are more likely to develop gum disease that can result in tooth loss. It is especially important for smokers to visit the dentist on a regular basis.

Health issues

If you have health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic health issues, your risk of developing gum disease increases. Therefore, it is especially important if you have these complications that you visit the dentist regularly.

Dental Implants are a Viable Option for Tooth Replacement

There are several options for tooth replacement, including dental implants, bridges, dentures, and more. Many patients prefer dental implants because they look, feel, and act the most like natural teeth.

A dental implant is an artificial structure that typically consists of three parts: implant, abutment, and crown. The implant is inserted into the patient’s jawbone and acts as a tooth root. It stimulates the jawbone so that it doesn’t disintegrate and serves as the support for the prosthetic tooth.

Below, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about dental implants. If you are missing one or more teeth and think dental implants may be the best solution for you, schedule your consultation with our team at Esteem Dental Implants.

Dental Implants Procedure

As mentioned, dental implants are a viable tooth replacement option. The implant itself is made of titanium and looks like a screw. The dental surgeon will drill a hole into the jawbone and insert the screw, which will ultimately be the supporting structure for the prosthetic tooth, or crown.

Once the implant is placed, you’ll be given several weeks or months to heal. During this time, the jawbone will osseointegrate around the screw, firmly holding it in place. After you have healed, an abutment will be placed, which is what the crown will be attached to.

The crown will be customized to fit your mouth. It will match the color of your natural teeth and will look, feel, and act like your natural teeth. If someone doesn’t know that you are missing teeth, they will never be able to tell the difference.

Advantages of Dental Implants

There are several advantages associated with dental implants, including the following:

Improves appearance

Since dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, they improve your smile and overall appearance. Plus, since they fuse with your jawbone, they are permanent. You don’t have to worry about any special instructions for keeping them clean.

Improves speech

When you are missing teeth, it affects the way you pronounce your words. If you opt for dentures as a tooth replacement solution and they don’t fit right, they may slip and slide around in your mouth- which can result in slurring or mumbling your words. Dental implants allow you to speak freely, as if you were not missing any teeth at all.

Comfortable

Since the implants fuse with your jawbone, they become a permanent part of your mouth, so you don’t have to worry about the discomfort of removable dentures.

Eating is easier

When you have dentures that slip and slide in your mouth, it can be difficult to eat- but dental implants don’t just look and feel like your natural teeth, they function like them as well. This means that you can still confidently enjoy your favorite foods.

Improved self-esteem

When you’re missing teeth, your confidence can be negatively impacted. However, dental implants improve your smile, and therefore your confidence.

Improved oral health

A dental bridge requires the reduction of other teeth to support the bridge. However, dental implants do not affect the surrounding teeth at all. This means more of your natural teeth are left intact, which improves your oral health. Plus, individual implants allow you to clean between your teeth, which improves oral hygiene.

Durable

Dental implants will last much longer than other tooth replacement options. In fact, with proper care and maintenance, they will last a lifetime.

Convenient

It’s not always easy or convenient to remove dentures to clean them. With dental implants, you don’t have to worry about taking them out. Simply brush and floss them just like you would your natural teeth. Plus, you don’t have to worry about messy adhesives to hold them in place.

Risks of Dental Implants

That being said, it’s important to understand that dental implants are not the best solution for everyone. Since the implant must fuse with your jawbone, it’s important that the bone is healthy before undergoing implant surgery.

If you have any of the following, it is not safe for a dentist or oral surgeon to perform dental implant surgery on you:

  • ● An acute illness
  • ● Bone/soft tissue disease
  • ● Bone/soft tissue infection
  • ● Uncontrolled metabolic disease

If you are able to get these issues resolved, you may be eligible for dental implant surgery.

In some cases, dentist and oral surgeons will refuse to do dental implant surgery on people who:

  • ● Are heavy smokers
  • ● Grind or clench their teeth
  • ● Have behavioral issues
  • ● Have psychiatric disorders
  • ● Have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS
  • ● Have been diagnosed with diabetes (especially if uncontrolled)
  • ● Have osteoporosis

If individuals with the above conditions do undergo dental implant surgery, the risk of implant failure is increased. In addition, patients who are undergoing the following treatments have an increased risk of implant complications, so dentists and oral surgeons may also refuse dental implant surgery:

2 Types of Dental Implants

There are two types of dental implants:

Subperiosteal

The most common type of dental implants are endosteal. The oral surgeon will embed them into the jawbone, and each one can hold one or more prosthetic teeth.

Endosteal

The other type of dental implant is subperiosteal. This type of implant sits on top of the jawbone. This option is for those who don’t have much jawbone to work with.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Approximately 3 million people in the United States currently have dental implants. This number increases by approximately 500,000 each year. As long as the surgery is performed by an experienced dentist or oral surgeon, such as the team at Esteem Dental Implants, dental implant surgery is safe. It’s also important to note that this is the only tooth replacement option that stimulates the health and growth of the patient’s jawbone.

Potential Implant Surgery Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are some potential complications during and following the surgery, including:

  • ● Nerve damage
  • ● Opening of incision after surgery
  • ● Implant infection
  • ● Implant movement
  • ● Implant exposure

Patients who have movement or exposure of their implant may require additional procedures to improve the health of gums and jawbone or to remove/replace the implant.

Indicators that the implant placement was not successful include the following:

  • ● Implant moves around a lot
  • ● Pus/secretion from surgical site
  • ● Pain when implant is tapped
  • ● Rapid bone loss

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a titanium, screw-like device that is placed in your jawbone and becomes an artificial tooth root. Since it fuses with your jawbone, it’s not going to slip around, make noise, or cause damage to your jawbone the way dentures or fixed bridges might. If the following applies to you, then you may be a good candidate for dental implants:

  • ● If you are missing one or more teeth
  • ● If your jawbone has reached full growth (adults)
  • ● If you have enough jawbone density to support the implant or are healthy enough to undergo bone graft surgery
  • ● If your oral tissues are healthy
  • ● If you don’t have health problems that affect the healing of your jawbone
  • ● If you don’t want to or can’t wear dentures
  • ● If you want to improve your speech
  • ● If you are willing to invest several months from beginning to end of the procedure
  • ● If you do not smoke

Additional Procedures

Everyone is different and will likely have a different experience when it comes to dental implant placement. Some of the factors include:

  • ● How many teeth are being replaced
  • ● Where the implants are located within the jaw
  • ● The quality/quantity of bone at implant site
  • ● Underlying oral/overall health

As mentioned, some patients may require additional procedures, including:

Sinus Augmentation

In some cases, it’s difficult to place a dental implant in the upper jaw due to the sinuses.

The patient may require a sinus augmentation, also known as a sinus lift. This is a procedure that lifts the floor of the sinuses to allow more bone to develop to ensure the implant placement is successful.

Ridge Modification

Some patients have an abnormality in their jawbone that keeps the jawbone from developing enough to support a dental implant. In this case, the dentist or oral surgeon will need to perform a procedure known as ridge modification.

In this procedure, the gum is lifted to expose the deformed bone. Then, a bone or bone substitute will be added to repair/build up the bone. This will improve the jawbone quality to prepare for dental implant surgery.

How to Maintain Dental Implants

Once dental implants have been placed, it’s important to continue practicing proper oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing regularly. Brush twice daily and floss at least once. Your prosthetic teeth require the same maintenance as your natural teeth.

In addition, you will be required to regularly follow up with your dentist or oral surgeon to ensure that the teeth and gums remain healthy. Schedule follow up visits at least annually, if not every six months.

How much do dental implants cost?

Dental implants are among the most expensive tooth replacement options. There are several factors involved in determining the cost of dental implant surgery, including:

  • ● The number of implants required
  • ● The type of implants used
  • ● The location of the implants in the jaw
  • ● Whether or not the patient requires additional procedures

When you come in for your initial consultation, we will be able to determine the actual cost of your surgery. In some cases, your dental insurance may cover at least a portion of the procedure.

Some other options, such as dentures or bridges may be less expensive, but these other options are harder to keep clean and typically don’t last as long- even with proper care and maintenance. This can make them more expensive in the long run. As long as you take proper care of your dental implants, you can get a better return on your investment.

Conclusion

While it’s exciting when a child loses their baby teeth, it’s not good when an adult loses a permanent one. There are lots of reasons why adults lose teeth- but you don’t have to live this way! If you are missing teeth, there are lots of options. One of the best solutions is dental implants. These looks, feel, and function like your natural teeth. They have a very high success rate and will last a lifetime if cared for properly.

If you’re interested in exploring more about this tooth replacement option, schedule your consultation with Esteem Dental Implants today. Click here to find a location near you!