We can all guess what a dental implant is: an implant for a tooth, right? But there is actually a little bit more to them than that. Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for fixed, also called permanent, or removable teeth. They are made to match your natural teeth. They are normally used to support a restoration for a missing tooth or teeth and help stop or prevent jawbone loss. They are normally not covered by insurance because they are classified as a combination of cosmetic surgery and prosthetic surgery. Sometime an insurance company will cover dental implants depending on your plan or the reason why you lost your tooth.
There are 2 types of dental implants. The first is called endosteal, meaning in the bone. This is the most common form of dental implant and is mainly used as an alternative for those with bridges or removable dentures. The second is subperiosteal, meaning on the bone. This type is primarily used for those who are unable to wear conventional dentures and for those who have minimal bone height. Which type of implant you will get depends on your bone density and your gum health. Anyone that can undergo routine dental extraction or oral surgery can get implants.
Dental implants have many advantages. For one, they will improve your smile’s appearance. They are designed to look and feel like your own teeth and are designed to fuse with the bone under your gums to become a permanent part of your smile. Since they are designed to become permanent, you won’t have any teeth slipping out of place causing mumbling or slurred speech. Having dental implants will eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures. They won’t slide around and will function as a part of your mouth for easier eating. Dental implants won’t require the surrounding teeth to be reduced like for bridges. If you take care of your implants, they will last for life. The best part is that you won’t need to deal with the embarrassing task of removing them to clean your teeth or deal with messy adhesives.
Success rates vary depending on where in your mouth they are implanted, but generally they have a 98% success rate with proper care. You must be willing to commit to great oral hygiene and regular visits to make sure that the implants last. Heavy smokers, those with uncontrolled chronic disorders (like diabetes or heart disease), or those who have recently had radiation therapy on their head or neck area need to seek an individual consultation. If you are unsure if you qualify for dental implants instead of a bridge or just aren’t sure about your options, call your Spring Emergency Dentist at 281-320-0400.