Creating Happy Smiles!
Until dental implants became widely available, dentists relied on bridges or dentures to replace lost teeth. Without the ability to get under the gums and anchor new teeth in to the underlying structures, these restorations were superficial in terms of their ability to provide the same benefit to the jaw as natural teeth do. These days, dental implants are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people begin to understand the full scope of what a dental implant can offer their smile.
In order to get to know dental implants further, you can begin by envisioning an implant like a dental crown with a screw protruding from beneath it. The crown of the tooth is actually a prosthetic tooth called a pontic. The pontic is connected to the artificial root of the tooth (the screw) with an abutment.
The procedure for installing dental implants is divided into two separate appointments. At the first appointment, your dentist will insert the artificial root system into the jaw bone. The artificial root is intentionally made of titanium, which solidifies its place in the jaw bone by a process known as osseointegration. The titanium root begins to fuse and bond with the surrounding bone as it heals, providing a strong stable base for the pontic (crown) that will be placed once healing has occurred. At the second appointment, your dentist will install the pontic onto the implant abutment in a pre-selected shade and shape. Your new implant will blend in with its adjacent neighbours and no one will ever know about them unless you choose to tell them.
Dental implants typically range from ($2,000-$4,000) per implant, however, a number of factors are considered in pricing and this can result in the final cost of implants falling outside of this range. Among the pricing factors are how many implants you require, how much material will be required, and any other procedures required to get your mouth ready to accept the implant.
While implants do represent a financial investment, they also represent an investment in your wellbeing and quality of life.
Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of their dentures slipping and sliding out of place at inopportune times knows how anxiety provoking it can be. The self-conscious feelings that can accompany dentures can often have a limiting impact on the social lives of their hosts when dentures are a challenge to keep in place. Dental implants are anchored into the hard bone structure that surrounds them, eliminating the change of slippage or friction.
Maintain Bite Force
Denture wearers often struggle to learn to eat with a full denture plate, because dentures do not act like real teeth and as a result they are much more limited in their function. Eating often requires placing equal food portions onto the back teeth and chewing slowly and methodically before swallowing. With dental implants, patients are free to enjoy the foods they love and can continue to eat using a combination of the front and back teeth without worrying about displacing the prosthetic.
Prevents Bone Loss
The teeth and jaw bone have a reciprocal relationship. The bones provide structure and stability to the teeth, and in return the tooth roots send a signal to the jaw bones to continuously remineralize every time they bite down. The relationship is critical to preventing bone loss, which begins happening immediately after a tooth’s root structure is removed. In the first year alone, demineralization (bone resorption) can reduce the jaw’s size by up to 25%. While prosthetics like dentures or bridges do exert some force on the jaw, they are only able to exert about 10% of the force of a natural tooth. This is because in a natural tooth system, biting forces are exerted down the root system and into the jaw bone directly.
In severe cases, bone resorption can be responsible for altering the appearance of the entire lower facial structure as less and less bone is present. Dental implants preserve your lower facial structure by offering 80-90% of the total bite force of natural teeth.
Dental pontics are made in the likeness of your natural teeth to ensure that they will blend seamlessly with your neighbouring teeth in colour and shape. Dental implants resist decay, so there will be no concerns about having to have the implants restored due to decay in the future.
Easy to Care for and Maintain
Care and maintenance of your dental implants is as effortless as maintaining your current oral hygiene habits. Brushing and flossing between the implants twice a day will ensure that your gums are protected from a buildup of plaque bacteria around the implant. No need for overnight soaking or other specific cleaning regimens.
Supports Adjacent Teeth
Not only do dental implants support healthy jaws, they also provide support to adjacent (or neighbouring) teeth. Implants serve the important role of holding space when a tooth has been lost in order to provide structural support to the teeth in that area of the mouth and prevent the migration of teeth into an unoccupied space along the jaw.