Affordable Tooth Replacement Options: The Dental Implant
Many people are missing one or more teeth, and some have suffered complete tooth loss. The effects of losing teeth can be far-reaching. Tooth loss can potentially affect your ability to eat comfortably and to have a nutritionally sound diet. It can impact your ability to talk clearly, often resulting in a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, and a reluctance to socialize with others, particularly at mealtimes. Traditionally, missing teeth have been replaced by tooth supported bridges or by partial dentures, while people missing all their teeth often had to rely on conventional full dentures. Luckily, there is a far better solution which is to have dental implants.
Dental implants are one of the most exciting developments in dental technology over the past few years and an increasing number of people are realizing the benefits of this treatment. When you opt for dental implant treatment, you are choosing a solution that should last for many years and even for life. Dental implant treatment can be highly cost-effective and there are different solutions to suit different budgets. This treatment could be far more affordable than you ever imagined. However, even though dental implants are becoming more widely recognized as a tooth loss solution, many people are still unsure of what is involved with this procedure.
What Is a Dental Implant?
Made from medical-grade titanium alloy, a dental implant consists of a small post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. Once in place, it begins to fuse with the surrounding bone until it is firmly held in place and able to support a replacement tooth. At this point our dentist, Dr. Donald Nimz will attach something called an abutment to the dental implant. which is used to support the replacement tooth which may be a crown, bridge or implant-supported denture. The type of abutment can vary depending on your choice of treatment. The final stage is for your new restoration to be created, using only the most advanced and lifelike materials.
Possible Choices for Replacing Teeth with Dental Implants
You can choose to replace just a single tooth with a single dental implant, or multiple implants can be used to replace multiple teeth. You don’t need to replace every single tooth that used to be adjacent to each other, as instead two or more dental implants can support a dental bridge.
An implant-supported bridge can be a good, cost-effective way to replace multiple missing teeth. With this choice, there is no need to reshape perfectly healthy teeth to support a conventional dental bridge. This is a huge advantage, not only because it preserves these teeth, but also for when the dental bridge needs replacing. Whenever you have any type of dental restoration it’s important to realize that although it will look and feel great for a good many years, it will not last forever. When the time comes to replace an implant-supported crown or bridge, you only need replace the teeth that are missing. An ordinary tooth supported bridge consists of crowns over the adjacent teeth and which are attached to a replacement tooth or teeth so it is larger. Additionally, removing a substantial part of a tooth for a dental crown can increase the risk of decay and infection in the future.
People missing all their teeth in their upper or lower arches or in both arches have a couple of different choices. One option is to restore a complete arch of teeth with a fixed bridge, supported by multiple dental implants. The bridge is either screwed or cemented onto the dental implants and can only be removed by our dentist, Dr. Nimz. This choice can be highly effective for people who do not wish to have a removable prosthesis. Alternatively, a complete arch of teeth can be replaced by what’s called an implant overdenture.
Dental Implant-Supported Overdentures
Similar to a traditional denture, this prosthesis has special fittings on its fit surface that allow the denture to click firmly onto the dental implants. You will still be able to remove the denture for easy cleaning, but once snapped onto the implants, it will be firm and stable. The advantage of this treatment option is its affordability. Often, it’s possible to support a complete overdenture with as few as two or four dental implants. It can also be a better choice for people who may struggle with keeping a fixed bridge of teeth thoroughly clean. An implant overdenture can also be an extremely good choice for anybody who lost teeth quite some time ago and who may have been wearing dentures for many years.
When you lose natural teeth then your jawbone is gradually resorbed because it no longer receives the stimulation provided by natural tooth roots. This can create serious problems for long-term denture wearers because the bony ridge that originally supported teeth gradually becomes flatter and narrower, no longer providing the support and retention needed to keep dentures firmly in place. Another side-effect of this bone loss is that it can affect dental implant treatment. Dental implants need to be placed in a certain amount of strong and healthy bone and when this is missing then it’s necessary to restore it with bone grafts. While bone grafting techniques are extremely effective, they do increase the cost and time required for dental implant treatment. Some people may also be unwilling to undergo an additional surgical procedure. With an implant-supported overdenture, bone grafts generally aren’t necessary because the dental implants are inserted towards the front of the mouth where the bone naturally tends to be stronger and thicker.
Why an Implant is Often the Healthier Solution
The bone loss that occurs after the loss of natural teeth is yet another reason why dental implants are such a healthy solution for tooth loss. This is because an implant post closely replicates a real tooth root, providing the stimulation needed to keep the surrounding bone strong while preventing resorption. It’s also the reason why you should consider dental implants soon after tooth loss as otherwise, you can lose a substantial amount of bone in just the first year.
Deciding Which Option Will Be the Best for You
If you are suffering from tooth loss or are facing this prospect, and are interested in finding an affordable and long-lasting solution, then it’s well worth investigating dental implants. A consultation with Dr. Donald Nimz here at McLoughlin Dental Care will allow him to assess your suitability. It’s also your opportunity to ask more questions about this treatment so you can make an educated decision about your dental care. Dr. Nimz has extensive additional training in planning and placing dental implants and will only recommend dental implants if he feels it is the best option for your dental needs. He has the expertise to guide you through this sophisticated treatment, using the best implant techniques for optimal success.