What are Dental Implants?Before we dive into some of the benefits of dental implants and whether or not they are the right choice for your situation, we want to take a moment to explain what dental implants are. At the most basic level, dental implants are fake teeth that are placed in a patient's gums in order to replace a tooth that is dying or to fill in for a tooth that has already fallen out of the patient's mouth. Think of dental implants as an artificial tooth with an attached root. When dental implants are placed in the jawbone, they bond with the patient’s bone, providing a sturdy base for an artificial tooth (known as a crown) to be placed. In modern dentistry, dental implants are the best replacement for a lost or damaged tooth because they are the most realistic looking replacement available and, more importantly, they help to maintain the integrity of the jawbone.
When a tooth is lost or starts to die, the root is no longer firmly placed in the jawbone. While this might not seem like a huge deal to the average person, a missing tooth can actually create lasting damage that affects the integrity of the teeth closest to the missing or damaged tooth. The human jawbone is made to house teeth. The roots of teeth and the jawbone work together to maintain structural integrity of the jawbone. If a person is missing one or more teeth, the area of the jawbone where these teeth are missing becomes weaker. If left untreated, this weak spot can actually spread further away from the problem area, leading to an overall softening of the jawbone and, in a worst-case scenario, damage to the roots of healthy teeth. Luckily, dental implants help to solve this issue by giving the jawbone a “root” to grow around, maintaining the natural strength of the jawbone itself.
What are Some of the Advantages of Dental Implants?Aside from helping the jawbone maintain its strength, dental implants offer many more benefits when compared to other tooth replacement options:
- Improved Appearance - One major advantage that draws people toward dental implants is the fact that they are one of the most natural-looking tooth replacement options. When placed in the mouth, dental implants look and feel just like a natural tooth.
- Improved Speech - A major complaint we hear from people with dentures is that they can slip in a patient’s mouth, causing a person to slur or to mumble their words. This occurs because the dentures may not sit properly in a person’s mouth. With dental implants, this problem does not occur because the implants are fused directly to a person’s jawbone, guaranteeing that no slipping will occur.
- Improved Oral Health - Unlike dental bridges, dental implants do not require the reducing of surrounding teeth. Because the adjacent teeth are not altered to support the implant, a patient’s original teeth are left intact, greatly improving long-term oral health.
- Durability - Another great feature of dental implants is the fact that they are super durable. The implant itself is made from medical grade stainless steel, while the crown can be made from a variety of materials including resin, ceramic-based materials, or porcelain fused to metal. No matter the material, dental implants are made to last.
- Convenience - Once a dental implant is placed in a patient’s jaw, they often times forget that they even have a false tooth. Other tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges or dentures, require a certain amount of upkeep and, unfortunately, must oftentimes be removed from the mouth in order to be properly cleaned. Because a dental implant is a permanent, long-term solution that is designed to stay in a patient’s mouth, upkeep is the same as it would be for a natural tooth.
Are Dental Implants Right for Me?By this point in the post, you are probably wondering if dental implants are the right choice for your particular situation. While every patient’s situation is different, we are confident in saying that dental implants are almost always the best choice when it comes to replacing a damaged or missing tooth.
We hope that this blog helped answer some questions about dental implants and the advantages they provide. If you are interested in learning more about the dental implant services we offer at our Ooltewah location, please feel free to reach out to us through our contact form or give us a call at 423-238-8887.