Dental implants are firmly-rooted replacements for the entire teeth structure. They’re inserted into the jawbone underneath the empty sockets of missing teeth, essentially replacing the root structures of the missing teeth. Over time, the jawbone heals around the implant through a natural process called osseointegration. Once the healing is complete, usually in 3 to 6 months, the implant becomes a part of the patient’s dental anatomy. The implant stays under the gum tissues, serving as a base for the dental restoration, i.e., the crown, bridge, or denture. The restoration is attached over the implant, thereby replacing the entire dental structure.
Dental implants look, feel, and act like natural teeth. After the healing process, they feel indistinguishable from natural teeth, making them the best teeth replacement options available. Below, we highlight the primary benefits and drawbacks of dental implants.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental Implants have a Natural Appearance
The visual appearance of dental implants depends largely on the quality of the dental restoration. The implant remains under the gum tissues — the prosthetic is the visible part of the implant anatomy. As such, the appearance of the entire structure depends on the quality of the dental crown, bridge, or denture placed over the implant. However, the dental implant provides a firmly integrated base for the prosthetic — there’s no instability, gaps, or other signs of artificiality.
Zirconia implants look even more natural than traditional titanium implants. With titanium implants, there’s a slight risk of visibility through the gums. Over time, if the patient experiences gum recession, the metallic grey color of the implant might become visible through the gum tissues. However, modern ceramic implants have the same color and shade as your teeth, allowing them to blend into the prosthetic even if they become visible because of gum recession.
Dental implants function like natural teeth, restoring your full chewing power. As such, you can eat steak, hard foods, nuts, and other such objects without worrying about instability. Patients with dentures or missing teeth often experience slurred speech or diet restrictions, but that’s not the case with dental implants. In fact, their functionality is so natural that most patients eventually can’t tell the difference between the implant and the natural teeth.
Dental Implants are Easy to Maintain
Maintaining dental implants is no different from maintaining regular oral hygiene. You should brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. You should also limit sugary foods, stop smoking, and go for regular dental appointments. Basically, you have to maintain the same standards of oral hygiene as your natural teeth. Unlike dentures, there’s no need for special products, cleaners, or other advanced methods.
Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
The jawbone needs constant stimulation to grow and remain active. Without a tooth, the jawbone will starts disintegrating due to the lack of mechanical stimulation. You can experience up to 25% bone loss within a year of losing a tooth. Dentures and other prosthetic options don’t stop bone loss because they’re not firmly attached to the jawbone, so they can’t provide the necessary mechanical stimulation. However, dental implants are firmly rooted in the jawbone, and they restore your natural functionality. As such, they preserve the bone structure and prevent bone loss.
Dental Implants Prevent Facial Sagging
The loss of jawbone structure accelerates facial sagging. Without sufficient jawbone to maintain skin stability, the lower half of your facial features starts collapsing. You might develop jowls, sagging skin tissues, wrinkles around the mouth, thinning lips, and a double chin. This makes you look a lot older than your years. However, as mentioned previously, dental implants preserve the jawbone, which, in turn, prevents facial sagging. As such, dental implants make you look younger.
Your body is always inclined to close gaps in the structure. As such, if you’re missing a tooth, the surrounding teeth will start shifting towards the missing spot to fill the gap, leading to misaligned and crooked teeth. Besides affecting the appearance of your teeth, a poor bite can lead to oral health issues, interfere with your ability to chew, and cause jaw pains. Dental implants ensure teeth stability, preventing a whole host of bite-related problems.
Dental Implants Lower Risk of Gum Disease
What are the Drawbacks of Dental Implants
Dental Implants are Costly
Dental implants necessitate oral surgery, i.e., the oral surgeon must make an incision in your gum tissues, manipulate the underlying bone, and attach the implant. The decision to undergo surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. You should also account for the negligible, but still present, risk of complications that follows all surgeries, such as infections, delayed healing, etc. However, most patients find the surgery worthwhile because it restores their teeth for a lifetime.
Extended Recovery Period
Dental Implants - Risk of Complications
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