Thinking about whether dental implants might be a tooth replacement option for you? Our dentists in Ottawa explain what these are, and the advantages and disadvantages of the common procedure.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are used to permanently replace missing teeth. A tiny titanium rod implanted into a patient's jawbone holds the implant in place and acts as a root of the artificial tooth.
Titanium is used since this type of metal is able to bond with bone. Titanium implants are stable, secure tooth replacements. The dental implant is then capped with a dental crown, which looks similar to a natural tooth.
Together, the implant and the cap look and function just like your natural tooth.
What are the advantages of having dental implants?
There are several reasons you may choose to have a dental implant, including:
Dental implants can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or all teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Implants can be combined with other treatment options such as a denture or bridge.
The density of your jawbone, and your specific needs and circumstances, will determine the number of implants you'll require. Dental implants are a popular option for many patients since they have many potential configurations.
Provided you properly care for your dental implant, it can last a lifetime. A proper at-home oral care routine is a must, as are regular visits to your dental office for cleanings and exams.
Other factors including nutrition, genetics or development of dental diseases can also impact the longevity of your dental implant.
Natural Look and Feel
As mentioned above, your dental implant, paired with a bridge or crown, will look and function just like your natural tooth.
No one should be able to tell that you have artificial teeth, and you can eat, speak and function as you did before while enjoying quality of life. Since there are no nerves in a dental implant, you will not feel sensations.
Instead, any feelings you experience related to your dental implant will actually come from the soft tissue around the implant. After your implant has healed and you’ve gotten used to it, you most likely will notice very little difference between your implant and your natural teeth.
Easy to Care For
Similar to bridges, crowns or other restorations, you can care for your dental implants just like your natural teeth. They’ll need thorough brushing and flossing, and your dentist will need to check them during your regular exams.
What are potential disadvantages of dental implants?
Depending on the nature of your case, dental implants may not be for you. Here are some aspects of dental implants you may want to consider:
While dental implants may look and feel somewhat more natural than dental bridges, the dental implant process is lengthier and more invasive.
Depending on your treatment plan and your specific case, the entire dental implant procedure can take anywhere from 2 to 9 months to complete.
Depending on your insurance coverage and your specific dental issue, the cost of dental implants can vary. While some insurance companies pay part of the cost, others may cover the entire cost of your implants and still others may not pay for any part of it.
Check with your insurance provider to learn whether your insurance plan will cover your treatment.
In addition to the items above, you must have enough density in your jaw bone for a dental implant treatment to be a success. If you don’t, you may still be a candidate for the procedure but would require a bone graft to transplant bone to your jaw to support the implant. This would make the process longer and more invasive.
How do I know whether dental implants or other options are right for me?
While dental implants, bridges and other restorations all have their benefits, the right choice for you will depend on your oral health needs, budget and other factors.
Ultimately, you’ll need to discuss your case with your dentist to find out which tooth replacement option would work best for you.