Did you know that some adults have around 11 teeth that are missing, decayed, or filled? Many people who’ve lost teeth feel self-conscious about their smiles. They might also have problems eating and be more susceptible to developing oral hygiene problems.
You don’t have to live with missing teeth or a smile you don’t love. Many types of dental implants can improve the appearance and health of your smile. Dental implants can completely restore your smile, whether you’re missing one or multiple teeth.
This guide will discuss everything you need to know about dental implants. Work with your dentist to find the best option that helps you accomplish your goals.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants consist of artificial tooth roots and teeth. The artificial roots, or implants, get surgically implanted into the patient’s jawbone. They look like a screw, and they’re designed to bond with your jawbone.
Dental implants consist of three primary pieces:
- Crown or fake tooth
The artificial root supports the artificial tooth. The supporting tooth, or abutment, gets put between the crown and implant. The abutment works to connect the pieces.
What Are the Main Types of Dental Implants?
There are a few types of dental implants that might work for you. What type you choose depends upon your needs and jawbone health.
Single Tooth Dental Implant
A dental implant and crown are great replacements if you’re missing one tooth. A bridge might be considered another option instead of a dental implant. One of the downsides of getting a bridge is that the adjacent teeth need to get ground down so they can support the cemented bridge.
A single-tooth dental implant will replace your missing tooth without sacrificing your neighbouring teeth’s health. Since the dental implant replaces your root, your jaw bone gets preserved. When you get a bridge, some of the bone around your missing tooth might deteriorate.
A single tooth implant is easy to maintain and aesthetically pleasing. When you get a bridge, your gums can start to recede around it. The collar or metal base of the bridge might get exposed.
All-On-4 Dental Implants
Four implants get inserted to replace your lower or upper set of teeth during an All-On-4 dental implant procedure. These implants serve as a support base for your new set of teeth. During this procedure, around 14 teeth get replaced.
These teeth include:
- Four molars
- Four premolars
- Two canines
- Four incisors
Another term for this type of dental implant is “full-arch dental implants.” We recommend All-On-6 dental implants for those who need more support.
All-On-4 implants are an excellent option for those who want to change their teeth’s appearance permanently. They’re another option instead of complete dentures.
Endosteal implants have roots made from titanium. Sometimes they’re made from ceramic material. The roots are shaped like screws and are inserted into the jawbone.
To have endosteal implants inserted into your jaw, you must have healthy gums and jawbone. Your dentist might be able to do a bone graft to improve the strength of your jawbone. Your gums and jawbone can easily fuse to the post and create a strong foundation for the tooth.
Subperiosteal implants are rare. They’re a good option for those who don’t have enough jawbone to support an endosteal implant. A subperiosteal implant gets put under the gums and isn’t inserted into your jawbone.
Since subperiosteal implants aren’t inserted into your jawbone, their overall structure differs from endosteal implants. Instead of a screw being inserted into your jaw, a metal frame is created to fit underneath your gums and over your jawbone. There are multiple posts on the frame that support the artificial teeth.
Zygomatic Dental Implants
Zygomatic dental implants are another uncommon type of implant. The implants get inserted into your cheekbone instead of your jaw.
With zygomatic dental implants, you won’t need any bone grafts to make you a good candidate for the procedure. The procedure takes less time than other dental implants, with some patients being able to get their teeth all in one day.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Getting dental implants does more than boost your confidence. There are countless benefits you can experience from replacing your missing teeth.
Some other dental procedures, like bridges, might only last a decade. With dental implant maintenance and good oral hygiene practices, dental implants can last the rest of your life.
Dental implants are made from titanium, which can integrate with your jawbone. Titanium is also biocompatible and non-toxic. Your body won’t reject it, making it a powerful material for tooth replacement.
Look Like Natural Teeth
It’s hard for many patients to tell the difference between their implants and natural teeth. Dental implants allow you to floss, eat, and brush like normal. Your full chewing power will get restored with dental implants.
Prevent Future Bone Loss
When you have missing teeth, the jaw bone underneath the empty space will deteriorate. That’s because it’s not getting stimulated. If you don’t replace the tooth within 12 months of losing it, you’ll lose around 25% of the bone.
Additionally, if you have dentures, they can accelerate how quickly you lose bone density. That’s because dentures get loose and rub against your jaw bone, wearing it down.
Dental implants replace your tooth’s root in addition to the tooth. As you chew, your jawbone gets stimulated and can regrow.
Avoid Premature Aging and Facial Sagging
An unwanted side effect of jawbone loss is facial sagging. Facial sagging is when the lower part of your face begins to collapse.
Some other changes you might experience include:
- Thinning lips
- Wrinkles around your mouth
- Pointed chin
All of these side effects of facial sagging can make you look older than you are. You might feel more self-conscious about your missing teeth and facial structure.
Improve Your Teeth’s Stability
When you have a missing tooth, the gap can result in your adjacent teeth shifting toward it. Your teeth will get pulled out of position, affecting your bite. The shifting of your teeth can also result in problems with getting dental implants in the future.
Increase Your Nutrition
Missing teeth can make eating your favourite foods difficult. You might consume only soft foods due to jaw pain, or you can’t chew most foods. If you’re avoiding certain healthy foods, your body is getting deprived of crucial nutrients.
Once your dental implants are inserted, you can return to eating the foods you love. You won’t have to avoid healthy fruits and vegetables because they’re difficult to chew.
How Does the Dental Implant Process Work?
The dental implant process varies depending on the type and quantity you receive. We’re going to discuss the typical process for getting a two-phase dental implant procedure.
What to Expect Before Your Surgery
Once you’ve had your initial dental implant appointment and discussed your options with your dentist, you’ll set a date for your surgery. Some of the things that might get discussed during your consultation include:
- The number of implants you need
- If you need a bone graft
- Your overall oral health
- If you need teeth pulled
You’ll also receive pre-op instructions from your dental implant specialist. The instructions might cover a few topics, including:
- Taking antibiotics
- Rinsing with anti-bacterial mouthwash
- Arranging transportation to and from the surgery
- Eating a healthy breakfast before the surgery
If you are receiving IV sedation, you might be instructed not to eat before your appointment.
What to Expect on the Day of Your Surgery
Your dental implant procedure will likely be broken up into two phases. The entire process can take around six to nine months. If you need bone grafts, the process might take longer.
You won’t have to be hospitalized for your appointment. Dental implants can be done in your dentist’s office.
Once your mouth has gotten number, your dentist will cut your gums to expose the jawbone where the implant will get inserted. Your dentist will use a drill to create a spot for the implant to go. The titanium implant then gets inserted into the jawbone.
After the dental implant has gotten inserted, your dentist will put another piece on top of the implant to serve as a barrier. Your gums will get closed over the implant. You’ll then wait a few months for the implant to attach to your jawbone.
What to Expect in the Second Phase
During the second phase, your dentist will take various teeth impressions. The impressions help them create a crown or artificial tooth that feels and looks like your other teeth. The impression process can take a few appointments.
The dental implant process is complete once the artificial teeth get placed on the dental implants.
What to Expect During Post-Op
It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions after your initial procedure. You want to avoid getting an infection.
Gum swelling and bruising are typical side effects of dental implants. You can help your pain with over-the-counter medications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting dental implants is a big decision. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about dental implants.
Who’s a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you want to replace your missing teeth, you might be an ideal candidate for dental implants. Some other factors you need to possess include:
- Healthy teeth and gums
- Strong jawbone
- Non-smokers or in the process of quitting
- Patience for the long process
- Good oral hygiene habits
Your dentist will speak to you about your options if they feel dental implants aren’t right for you.
Are Dental Implants Expensive?
A single-tooth dental implant costs about the same as a bridge. Your insurance might cover the cost, but it depends upon your insurance plan.
A few factors affect the cost, such as:
- Bone quantity
- Patient needs
Are Dentures Better Than Implants?
Dentures replace missing teeth and gum tissue. They can get removed while you eat or sleep.
The base of dentures is made from gum-coloured acrylic material. Artificial teeth are attached to the base. Some dentures might include a metal framework to provide additional support and strength.
Patients can choose from partial or complete dentures. Complete dentures replace all your teeth in the lower or upper jaw or both jaws. The dentures sit on your gums.
Partial dentures are used to fill gaps between your teeth. You can receive partial dentures when you have natural teeth.
Partial dentures get attached to your existing teeth with clasps. They can also get attached by precision attachments.
While dentures might be less expensive upfront than dental implants, they’re not something that’ll last a lifetime. Dentures can also take a while to get used to. You might experience problems speaking or chewing.
However, dentures can be used in conjunction with dental implants. The implants can provide support for removable implant overdentures. The overdentures snap onto your implants.
Since the overdentures attach to your implants, they won’t move. You also don’t have to worry about denture glue or adhesives.
What Causes Missing Teeth?
People lose their primary teeth as they get older. The adult teeth you receive throughout the first two decades of your life are permanent. There are a few factors that can increase your chances of permanent tooth loss, such as:
- Gum disease
- Poor nutrition
- Tooth decay
- Poor hygiene habits
- Not getting dental care
Partner With an Experienced Dentist to Learn More About Dental Implants
You don’t have to live with missing teeth. Improve the appearance and health of your smile with one of the many types of dental implants. Get your life back and regain your ability to chew.
Dr Vicky’s Smile Design Studio is here to help you achieve a beautiful smile that you’re proud of. Contact us today to learn more about our dental implant services.