Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Are Dental Implants Right for You?

A million people receive dental implants each year. Is it time for you to get one?

Since ancient times, humans have found ways to replace missing teeth with gold or other natural materials, such as ivory or shells. By the 1970s, dental implants advanced to the modern version of a titanium rod inserted into the bone and capped with a crown. 

Dental implants replace badly decayed or broken teeth, and they’ve grown in popularity. But not all who need an implant get one. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 150 million people in the U.S. are missing one tooth, yet only 1 million get an implant yearly. Is a dental implant right for you? This guide will help you decide.

The six benefits of dental implants

Nearly everyone can be a candidate for a dental implant. You must have enough bone mass in the jaw to support the implant and show no signs of gum disease. Additionally, you have to be in generally good health without any chronic conditions such as diabetes that may hinder healing from what is extensive oral surgery.

Further, a dental implant involves several visits to insert the rod into the jaw bone, attach an abutment to the rod, and then top it off with a crown. This process could take up to six months or more. So you must be willing to spend much time in the dentist’s chair. But ultimately, you’ll reap the six biggest benefits of a dental implant:

Looks and acts like your natural tooth. Since implants mimic your teeth’ natural shape and color, you can speak and chew as you normally would. Missing teeth can change the contours of your face, but an implant keeps your teeth and jaw in perfect alignment. 

Requires no special maintenance. You must remove bridges and dentures before cleaning, which takes time and effort. But you can brush and floss as you usually would with implants. 

Prevents bone loss. When you lose a tooth, you also lose bone mass in the alveolar ridge, the part of your jaw bone that holds the tooth socket. The body essentially reabsorbs the bone. Placing an implant in the jaw strengthens and preserves the bone.

Lasts a long time. Dental implants are highly durable and long-lasting. In fact, one study found 97 percent of dental implants remained intact after ten years. Many can last longer with proper care. Unlike bridges or dentures, you won’t need to replace an implant anytime soon.

Keeps teeth in alignment. A missing tooth can cause nearby teeth to drift into the empty space gradually. This action can throw your teeth out of alignment and lead to other dental and orthodontic problems. An implant keeps nearby teeth in position.

Improves self-confidence. Missing teeth can make you self-conscious in social situations. But you’ll feel more confident and have a better quality of life when an implant gives you a complete set of teeth.

As with any surgical procedure, dental implants come with risks. Although rare, damage to surrounding teeth, nerves, and tissue can occur during the procedure. And there is always a slight chance the implant will fail and not stay in the jaw. However, your dentist will ensure these rare risks will not happen to you. 

Making the most of your dental implant

Implants cost more than other options, such as dentures and bridges. Insurance may not pay for implants. But the extra expense will be worth it for a tooth as good as your natural teeth.

One way to preserve your investment is by caring for the implant and natural teeth. Decay-causing bacteria and plaque may not harm the implant, but it can damage surrounding teeth. Remember to brush and floss daily and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. Visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup, who will make sure your implant and the rest of your teeth are in good condition.

Visit the implant specialists in La Mesa

Dr. Jeff Gray and Dr. Greg Hurtado at Espire Dental in La Mesa have been providing the best quality dental implant services to the San Diego community for over 30 years. Schedule your consultation online!

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