If you have lost one or more teeth, dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available. They function just like your natural teeth: you can eat all the foods you enjoyed with healthy natural teeth. They also look like natural teeth and only require the same care as your natural teeth. Just brush, floss, and make your regular dental checkups to ensure that they last a lifetime. And almost everyone is a candidate for dental implants.
Benefits of Dental Implants
If you have lost one or more teeth, there are many options for tooth replacement, but dental implants are the best because they:
- Allow you to eat a full range of foods
- Look natural and attractive
- Won’t slip out
- Support themselves
- Allow normal speech
- Require no special care
- Can last a lifetime
Dental implants look and function just like your natural teeth. You can eat all the same foods you enjoyed with a full set of healthy, natural teeth. And they look just like natural teeth! Even with close inspection, most people can’t pick out a dental implant.
They are fully fixed in your bone. They won’t slip out when eating, talking, or laughing. They don’t depend on other teeth to support them — they support themselves, which means that they won’t increase the risk of losing other teeth, as can sometimes happen with dental bridges or partial dentures. And because they’re fully fixed in your jawbone, you can speak naturally and normally with no period of adjustment.
Dental implants also just need to be cared for like natural teeth (except for right after getting them in, they need special care then). You should brush and floss them to remove plaque. Plaque can’t damage the implant itself, but it can lead to gum disease around the implant, which can cause it to be lost. Regular professional cleanings also help maintain your dental implants.
Properly cared for, they can last a very long time. The current record is 48 years and counting!
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Most people who have lost one or more teeth are candidates for dental implants. They are not recommended for children, but adults of any age can get them, as long as they are healthy for surgery and have good bone to support the implant.
However, there are some concerns that we have to take into account before placing dental implants. All the following can increase the risk of dental implant failure:
- Chronic gum disease
- Health conditions like diabetes
- Certain medications like SSRIs (a kind of antidepressant) and bisphosphonates (taken for osteoporosis)
None of these mean you can’t get dental implants, it just means we have to be more cautious and may require additional procedures. In addition, if you don’t have enough bone mass to support them, a bone graft may be necessary to provide support for the implant.