During the dental implant surgical procedure, a metal post replaces damaged or missing teeth. A crown is placed over the post. The dental implant looks and functions like a person’s natural teeth.
Dental implants serve as an alternative to dentures or bridge work. They provide an attractive and permanent option for individuals who do not have natural teeth roots or who cannot support traditional bridge work or dentures.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?
Many wonder if it is worth the time and the money to have dental implants done. There are several reasons why dental implants make sense. However, there are some cautions to consider.
If you want to restore your smile, dental implants may be right for you. They provide the look, feel, and functionality of your regular teeth.
Dental implants replace the root of your tooth. They are inserted into your jaw. Your jawbone requires pressure to continue to grow. When a tooth is removed, the pressure caused by chewing is gone and the bone in that area starts to disappear. Dental implants restore that pressure from chewing. They can minimize bone loss.
Dental implants are as close to your natural teeth as you can get. The implant, which is made from titanium, fuses to your jawbone. If you take care of your teeth, they will be as durable as your natural teeth. Dentures need to be replaced every five to eight years. Dental implants can last a lifetime.
Dental implants do more than just improve your smile. Since the titanium post fuses to your jawbone, the implants do not move. This means that implants do not affect your speech and you can eat anything you want.
Although infections are rare, they can happen after implants are inserted. The worst case scenario is that an infected implant could lead to periodontal disease. This could lead to bone loss.
Dental implants take time. You may need to wait six months for your implant to fuse with your jawbone. Dental implants might not be the best option if you need an immediate fix.
Dental implants can be expensive. Even if your insurance covers some of the expense, you will still have to pay something out-of-pocket. You can expect dental implants to be more expensive than other traditional dental treatments.
You may require additional procedures with your dental implants. For example, a bone graft may be required if your bone is not dense enough to support the implant. Your sinuses may need to be adjusted if they are too close to your jawbone. Each of these surgeries could increase the length of time you wait for implants and increase the price.
When weighing the pros and cons, most people would agree that having a health smile is worth it. Dental implants offer a long-term solution. They are attractive, functional, and safe.
Advances in Dental Implant Technology
Many mistakenly believe that dental implants are a new procedure. However, they have been around for more than four decades.
Implant supporting and construction technologies have advanced greatly in recent years. Computer tomography and cone beam technologies make implant placement more precise.
Digital processes allow dentists to use special cameras and create a 3D model of your jaw. They can manipulate the model and view your jaw from various angles. This means that they can avoid things like sinuses and nerves when placing implants. They can also monitor bone density. This leads to stable implants.
Surgical guides are custom devices that fit over the teeth. They allow your dentist to drill with precision and stability. This further increases the accuracy during the drilling facet of the surgery.
The Benefits of Zirconia Crowns
Zirconia crowns have grown in popularity in recent years. They are durable and can be made to match the color of natural teeth.
Zirconia is a metal oxide that has properties like titanium. It is good for dental crowns because it is chemically unreactive. Other properties that add to the value of zirconia include:
• Oxidation resistance
• No chemical corrosion
• Wear resistant
• Natural white color
• Translucent appearance
Dentists are turning to zirconia crowns because they resist temperature fluctuations. They are durable, do not require a metal base, and can be easily modified, shaped, or recovered. Dentists like that they can make zirconia crowns in their office. They can create and fit zirconia crowns in one day.
Zirconia is not the only material used for dental crowns. Crowns could be made from silver, gold, metal alloys, PFM, and ceramic compounds, like porcelain. Crowns can also be made from resin-based materials.
What to Expect from Dental Implant Recovery
Dental implant surgery may require you to be put under twilight anesthesia. After the procedure, your dentist may prescribe medication to help you manage pain. However, most patients are surprised that the pain they experience is a lot less than what they thought it would be.
Once the implant procedure is done, you will be given a temporary bridge or crown. While you use the temporary bridge or crown, you will not be able to eat the same foods you could previously.
While circumstances vary from person to person, healing takes between six and nine months. During the healing process, you will need to avoid tough foods, like steak or nuts.
Your recovery time will vary depending on:
• The number of implants you received
• The health of your bones prior to the procedure
• Health conditions impacting your body’s ability to heal
• How closely you stick to your dentist’s instructions and treatment plan
• Whether or not you smoke tobacco
Once you are completely healed, you will get your final prosthesis. The prosthesis, or crown, is attached to the metal implant via abutments. This is a quick and relatively easy dental visit.
Once this is done, you will be able to eat whatever food you want. Your implants can last a lifetime if you care for them as you would real teeth. Dr. Bruce Vafa is a top dentist in West Hollywood, CA. He recommends that patients come in for biannual visits to check the state of their implants.
Will I Need a Bone Graft?
If you have lost bone density, your jawbone may lack the thickness needed for an implant. Your jawbone must be dense enough to support the titanium post and the force of chewing. A bone grafting procedure might increase the density of your jawbone, allowing the implant to fit perfectly.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
It is difficult to put a firm price on the cost of dental implants. Factors such as whether you are replacing one tooth or various teeth come into play. If you need a bone graft or if you need other additional treatments, the cost of the procedure could rise.
If you are looking to replace a single tooth, you should expect to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000. There are advertisements offering cheaper dental implants. But these are usually performed by dentists who do not have the AAID credentials as an implant dentist.
Since your oral health is so important, you don’t want to take any risks. Your implants should only be installed by a credentialed implant dentist.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dr. Bruce Vafa is a renowned dentist in West Hollywood, CA. Many of the patients he sees are good candidates for dental implants.
However, each case must be evaluated individually. The evaluation includes a mouth x-ray and a CT scan. This allows the dentist to identify areas of bone loss and see how your sinuses are shaped. They can identify nerve locations and assess your overall treatment.
Your dentist is going to be interested in your overall health. Your health history will impact how the implant will fuse to the bone.
If you have uncontrolled diabetes, are a smoker, or are battling alcoholism, your outcome can be negatively impacted. Certain drugs, like drugs that suppress the immune system or steroids, may disqualify you from being a candidate for a dental implant. The same is true if you grind or clench your teeth.
Overall, patients are happy with the outcome they get from dental implants. If you are considering dental implants, talk to your dentist. They can perform a careful examination and help you determine which tooth replacement option is best for you.