Whether we like it or not, tooth loss is a pretty common thing. Aging isn’t the only culprit (according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, one in four adults lose all their permanent teeth by the age of 74), gum disease, failed root canals, accidents, and tooth decay also play a major role in tooth loss.
While in the past, dentures and fixed bridgework were the go-to options in such cases, nowadays, dental implants are becoming more and more popular, mainly because they sport a more natural look.
Popularity is one thing, but are there downsides to them? What are the pros and cons of dental implants?
If you’ve been wondering about this exact question, you’ve found the answer! Please, do read on.
Even though they provide the aesthetic results one may be looking for one looking to get their beautiful smile back, the truth is, replacing missing teeth is just partly cosmetic.
Once the tooth is lost, the alveolar bone which supports the tooth in the jaw begins to disintegrate. This can affect the structure of the face, including the jaw and its muscles, especially when more teeth are missing. The remaining teeth are also negatively affected – shifting can occur along with issues with bite (alignment of the upper and lower teeth). All of this can lead to difficulty chewing and poor nutrition. This is why fixing the issues as soon as possible is of vital importance.
Dental implants are screws or framework made of titanium and other materials which support the replacement tooth. The implantation itself is performed in several steps.
First, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon anchors the implant into the jawbone. Three to six months later, after the screw has fully fused with the bone, a reconstructive dentist attaches the replacement tooth to small metal post which protrudes from the titanium implant.
One of the advantages of dental implants is the fact that they don’t rely on the neighboring teeth for support (as with bridges). This can protect the remaining teeth from potential damage. With implants, bones loss is usually avoided since they actually replace the tooth at its root (unlike in the case of dentures).
On the other hand, implants function like real teeth and look like them. There’s no “clicking” noises, no difficulties with chewing or speaking like with dentures.
Maintenance is like with real teeth – diligent oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist will do the trick.
While getting implants are considered safe, complications may occur as with any surgery. These may include bleeding, infection, nerve, sinus or nasal cavity injuries.
Also, implants aren’t a quick fix, meaning that you may have to wait up to six months for the implant to fuse with your jawbone.
You can still get infections – The gum around the implant can still get infected by bacteria, triggering periimplantitits, that can result in bone loss.
You may need additional dental work – If the jawbone is weakened, the surgeon may graft bone onto the weakened portion. Sinus (cavity) elevation may also be needed if it’s enlarged and pushes into the area that needs the bone graft.
Despite all the mentioned drawbacks, getting dental implants are a safe and reliable option since the surgery’s success rate is over 90 percent and they can significantly improve the quality of your life.
If you have any further questions regarding dental implants, feel free to give us a call. The team here at Doral Sedation & Family Dentistry is all about seeing and helping you smile!