178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and about 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth.
The problem is not unique to seniors. In fact, studies show that 60% of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth.
Tooth loss can be due to a number of factors, including gum disease, tooth decay, and traumatic injury. Bone loss can lead to loss of support for neighboring teeth, which is why folks often lose more than one.
You lose more than your sparkling smile when a tooth falls out. A loss of chewing performance, a lack of confidence, and anxiety can all be the result of fewer pearly whites.
In the past, dentures and tooth restoration have sought to renew that flawless grin. Yet dental implant technology has made tooth implants increasingly more efficient.
How is science advancing to make replacing your teeth a better solution than ever? Let’s take a look.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. They provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth, which are custom-fitted to look like your natural teeth.
While bridges and dentures need to be replaced every 5-10 years, 90% of those with dental implants have seen them last for 30 years or longer. With proper care, they can last a lifetime. In the long run, it can actually save you quite a bit of time and money to invest in them.
Dental implants allow you to speak, chew, and smile naturally. You can brush and floss them like biological teeth. Unlike ill-fitting dentures, dental implants won’t slip when you talk, laugh, or eat.
There is occasional discomfort from dentures. They can slide and make chewing difficult. With dental implants, you can eat your favorite foods with confidence.
Dental implants prevent your teeth from shifting and are not subject to bite collapse. They will not decay or require a root canal. Oral hygiene is easier because you can floss comfortably between them.
Implants can help you avoid the problem of bone loss because they don’t require the grinding down of existing teeth to fit them in. This is an issue with partial bridges or dentures. Dental implants also reduce the occurrence of bone resorption and deterioration, which causes your bones to lose their height.
The healing process for dental implants is symptom-free, promising patients a short, painless recovery period. A bright, natural-looking smile can be restored quickly.
Candidates for Dental Implants
Before considering dental implant technology, it is important to talk to your dentist. Those in the best health are likely to be the best candidates for surgery. Sites like this website can help you get started.
In order to be considered, your gums must be strong enough to hold the implant. You should be up-to-date with your hygiene and dental visits.
Heavy smokers and those suffering from diabetes or heart disease may be considered for surgery on a case-by-case basis.
In general, dental insurance will not cover implant surgery completely. You may get partial coverage, depending upon the amount of tooth loss. It is important to talk to your provider.
A health savings account, or HSA, can help you save up tax-sheltered funds for your implants.
Dental Implant Technology
In recent years, computer-aided design and manufacturing technology (CAD and CAM) are beginning to be used to help create exact replicas of patients’ original teeth. New choppers are ready to be implanted as soon as non-salvageable teeth have been extracted. Zero bone loss is beginning to look like a real possibility for dental implant patients.
CAD and CAM technologies allow patients to view digital images of exactly what their new teeth will look like. They can help your dentist answer questions and communicate exactly how the procedure will take place.
New 3D-imaging technology allows your dentist to have more precision during surgery. Poorly-placed implants can come loose and need to be replaced more quickly.
New navigation technology provides dentists with 3D imaging, giving them active, turn-by-turn guidance as they operate while watching a screen. It gives them greater precision and control during surgeries, ensuring that your new teeth will be durable and strong.
Imaging technology allows professionals to answer questions and calm the patient’s fears before operating. They help to make the experience more efficient and improve the patient’s confidence throughout the process.
Modern technology allows for minimally-invasive, same-day surgery that leaves patients with a sparkling smile. A local anesthetic is used, and there is little discomfort during the procedure. Afterward, patients reported having less pain than they did during a tooth extraction.
Steps For Getting Implants
The first step you will need to take if you are considering implants is a consultation with your dentist. They will help you to develop an individual treatment plan that will address your particular needs. You will be able to view images of what your new teeth will look like after surgery.
Next, the root for your tooth can be implanted. It is created out of a small post of titanium and placed in the missing tooth’s bone socket. The healing process can take from six to twelve weeks. Your jawbone will anchor the post securely to the jaw as it heals.
After that, a small connector post, known as an abutment, is attached securely to the new tooth. Your dentist will then take impressions of your teeth to create a model of your bite. A new tooth is then created out of this model.
The new tooth, called a crown, is then attached to your jaw via the abutment. You will then be ready to show your new pearly whites to the world.
Patients use over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Motrin to treat any discomfort after the surgery.
Get Ready to Grin
Dental implant technology has enabled patients to get attractive new teeth that will last them a lifetime with a short, painless procedure.
For more information, read our blog today.