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How Do I Know if I Need Dental Implants?

Filed under: Dental Implants — Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:00 am

There are few things worse than not feeling one hundred percent confident about your smile. If you have missing teeth that give you gaps in your grin, then dental implants may be the perfect dental solution for you.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are among the most effective treatment options for missing teeth.

When you receive a dental implant, the first step includes placing an anchor into your jaw bone surgically. This post will be given a chance to heal. During the healing process, it will fuse naturally to your jawbone — much like the roots of your natural teeth. Once the healing process is complete, you will receive your new tooth replacement in the form of a crown.

When are dental implants needed?

Dental implants come into play when you are missing a tooth. Your missing tooth may have been an extraction, or you may have suffered damage or breakage in an accident. Your dentist will help you determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants, which naturally replaces missing teeth.

It is important to replace any missing teeth in a timely manner. When you lose a tooth, the bone that once supported it starts to lose density. The rest of the teeth in your mouth may start to shift, as the tooth that once helped them hold their place in your jaw is no longer there. This could affect your bite. If your bite is misaligned, it could cause you pain and further problems.

What are the pros and cons of dental implants?

The benefits of dental implants are numerous. This treatment is one of the best available to replace missing teeth. Since it is a permanent solution, you do not have to worry about removing an apparatus, as with full and partial dentures. Since the anchor is designed to fuse naturally to your jawbone, your implant will be safe and secure. You will not have to adjust your lifestyle or diet, and you will care for the implant just like you care for the rest of your teeth in your mouth. As an added bonus, your dental implant will look very much like your natural tooth. Most people will not be able to tell any difference between your implant and the rest of your smile.

There are a few disadvantages to dental implants.

Dental implants can sometimes be expensive, depending on your insurance plan and the coverages available to you. The team at your dental office can reach out to your carrier and provide you with an estimate on the pricing.

Additionally, dental implants aren’t for everyone. There are several factors that could affect whether you are a good candidate to receive this treatment.

Who are good candidates for dental implants?

If you are generally in good health, you may be a good candidate to receive one or more dental implants. During your initial consultation for dental implants, we will do a complete examination to determine whether your jaw has enough density in the bone to support the post that secures the implant and makes it a secure and natural solution to replace a missing tooth.

Some factors that could impact whether you are a good candidate to receive a dental implant include:

  • Age: Some people over the age of 60 may not be good candidates for dental implants.
  • Medical history: If you have had radiation or chemotherapy to treat cancer, you may not be a good candidate. Likewise, if the medication you are taking interferes with bone growth, if you have low estrogen and are postmenopausal, or if you have diabetes that is poorly controlled, it could affect the success of a dental implant. Individuals with gum disease may also not be good candidates.
  • Lifestyle habits: People who smoke or excessively drink alcohol may not be good candidates for dental implants.

Ultimately, the decision on whether dental implants are right for you will come down to communication between you and your dentist.

Are there any alternatives to dental implants?

If you and your dentist decide that dental implants are not the right course of treatment for you, then not to worry — there are several alternatives that will give you the smile that you want.

  • Fixed bridge: A fixed bridge utilizes the two natural teeth on either side of the gap to provide a supportive fix for your smile. Your dentist will reshape the two teeth to accommodate the bridge, which will cover both your gap and your two natural teeth.
  • Partial denture: This removable appliance clips on to your existing teeth to provide coverage for your gaps.
  • Complete denture: Your gums support full dentures, as they rest where your natural teeth once were.

Ready to talk about your own personal treatment plan involving dental implants? Or would you like to know about the dental implant service we provide right here at Cornerstone Dental Arts? Call us with your questions at (865) 531-7117 or read more here.