We all want a perfect smile, but sometimes illness, an accident, or just the normal wear and tear of life can cause damage or tooth loss. And you don’t have to be a celebrity to want great looking teeth or spend the earth. Today, dental implants are far more affordable, much easier to fit, and incredibly sophisticated in design, making your smile look good inside out – and they are the closest to natural teeth.
So let’s start with a few basics, what is a dental implant?
A single dental implant is a permanently fixed prosthetic tooth. In the same way as a normal tooth, the dental implant is anchored safely into the jawbone – it is screwed in, rather than rooted. The bone heals naturally around the implanted post to secure it, and the dental crown goes over the top.
Generally, why are dental implants a great solution?
Damaged or missing teeth usually affect your eating, impacting on what food you can eat. Trying to adjust how you eat to compensate for a broken tooth can lead to even more accidental damage and teeth can erode further.
Missing teeth can cause other complications: gums can recede, other teeth can move around in your mouth, or even become loose and fall out, and there can be bone loss due to gum infection. A dental implant increases oral stability meaning that your mouth is generally more protected. And how about self-confidence? A lost or broken tooth or a gap can affect how we feel and make us nervous about smiling or laughing. With dental implants, you can speak freely without discomfort or distortion as they are contoured and designed for your smile alone – tailor-made for a perfect fit, so you can laugh naturally and speak normally, plus eat and drink whatever you want.
Is the procedure painful, and how much does it cost?
Dental implants tend to be fitted under a local anaesthetic, so you are awake during the whole procedure, but it’s pain-free. In recent years, the cost of implants has dramatically reduced, so financial outlay is less and reduced further, depending on how many teeth are replaced. Because dental implants are built to last this makes them your best long-term, cost-effective solution. Traditional, tooth-supported dental bridges only last five to seven years, and with proper care sometimes more than 10 years, but they often need replacing, so more costs are incurred over your lifetime.
Dental implants are strong like natural teeth and last longer, so what about dentures and bridges?
Dental implants mimic healthy, natural teeth – they are easy to clean, strong and stable. They look, feel, fit and function like a natural tooth. Dentures or bridges are high maintenance, often very uncomfortable, and can lead to bone deterioration. Everyday life is impacted from eating, smiling, speaking and other social activities. With dental implants, you don’t have to stay at home or feel uncomfortable in public or embarrassed because your smile looks different. With removable dentures or tooth-supported replacement, teeth could loosen or fall out when you talk, eat or laugh at any moment. Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move, click or shift.
What are the other physical benefits of dental implants?
They retain your natural face shape, and smile. A face without teeth can sag and appear sunken and sad. Dental implants also protect your healthy bone. Leaving empty spaces in your mouth, when not being used to support a natural tooth, the jawbone can deteriorate, losing its strength and firmness.
It’s impossible for cavities to occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth. Dental implants also preserve natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss. Healthy teeth are protected too by dental implants preventing them from shifting into an empty space.