Dental implant surgery can be a very good option for any person who is missing one or more teeth, because it can provide a permanent solution for the missing tooth, and will look and feel extremely natural in your mouth. In years past, only dentures and bridgework were available to patients who had undergone a tooth extraction, but dental implants are now available as perhaps the very best solution for a missing tooth. During surgery, a titanium post is installed directly into the jawbone, and then it will be necessary to allow several months to pass so the titanium screw can actually fuse with the jawbone. This is what gives a dental implant its stability and reliability – the fact that it actually becomes part of your existing jawbone.
- After fusion – Once that fusion has occurred, a dentist can install an abutment in your mouth, and this is the device which will actually hold the new tooth or crown.
- New tooth – The crown will be custom fit to your mouth, so it can blend in as much as possible with the other teeth, and so it will be fully functional as well.
- Implant longevity – The implant itself will never need replacement, but it is possible that after 10 or 20 years, the crown may have to be replaced with a new crown.
- Crown wear – The crown is subject to the wear and tear of daily usage, and will eventually wear down under that kind of stress.
- Dental bridges
Dental bridges can be used when the gap left by a missing tooth has solid natural teeth on either side, because these will be needed to support the installation of a new false tooth in the gap. The new false tooth, or pontic, is held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap, and a crown is ordinarily cemented on to both of these abutment teeth for the purpose. The new tooth is often made of porcelain because that material blends in with existing teeth very well, but it could also be made of gold or other materials. The most popular type of dental bridge is known as a traditional bridge, and it is installed according to the description above, i.e. crowns being cemented on to two abutment teeth, which hold the new tooth in place.
Denture stabilization addresses one of the primary downsides to using dentures, that being the potential for slippage and movement in the mouth. Stabilization is accomplished by implanting titanium screws in the same way that a procedure for dental implants would be carried out. An overview of the process:
- Fusion – The titanium screw is allowed to fuse with the jawbone over a period of months, so as to provide a rock-solid foundation for what comes next.
- Denture anchoring – When the implant is in place, your dentures can be anchored to the implant, so there will be no further movement or slippage.
- Increased functionality and enjoyment – This will allow you to speak more clearly, enjoy eating foods without difficulty, and have a greater level of comfort than you’d have without this kind of support for your dentures.
Snap-on smiles are so called because they provide a thin resin veneer which covers your current teeth, so as to provide a temporary solution to unsightly or discolored teeth for any upcoming event. They are of course, custom-made to fit over your teeth, so they can be snapped into place and removed just as easily. When you don’t have time to go through the standard process of having veneers installed, snap-on smiles can provide an emergency solution that will be fine for any occasion where you want to look your best. After the important event has passed, you’ll then have time to go through the process of having conventional veneers installed for a more permanent solution.
It is normally necessary to install one implant for each tooth you’re missing, but all-on-4 implants take advantage of newer technology, and are able to use a different approach. In all-on-4 implants, an entire arch of either upper or lower teeth can be replaced by just four implants, which are strategically positioned in your mouth. This makes all-on-4 implants a very viable alternative to having dentures installed, and they are also much more functional and reliable than dentures. Since the four implants anchor all your new prosthetic teeth directly to the jawbone, there will never be any slippage or movement as there might be with dentures.
Cost of dental implants
A single dental implant will generally cost in the neighborhood of $3,000 to $4,500, but you should be aware that these prices will vary according to your geographic region, the level of dental expertise at the clinic, and whether any other related processes must be carried out for the implant to be successful. The cost includes the implant itself, the abutment which will hold the crown, and the actual crown or new tooth. Part of the cost is also used to cover laboratory expenses which are needed to custom-fit the crown to the place where you have a missing tooth. In some cases, insurance will cover at least part of the cost of a dental implant, so check with your particular carrier before going ahead with the implant procedure.
Types of dental implants
There are three basic types of dental implants, these being endosteal, subperiosteal, and zygomatic. By far the most popular type of implant is the endosteal, followed by the subperiosteal. Zygomatic implants are more complicated, and are not often selected as the best approach to installing implants.
- Endosteal – All patients who have a good healthy jawbone will probably be eligible for endosteal implants, because this procedure calls for inserting a titanium screw into the jawbone, and later on installing an abutment and a crown, or false tooth.
- Subperiosteal – A subperiosteal implant does not actually get fused to the jawbone, but rests on top of the jaw, under the gum line. This technique is generally used when a patient lacks sufficient healthy jawbone to install a titanium screw.
- Zygomatic – In a zygomatic procedure, the implant is placed in the patient’s cheekbone rather than the jawbone, and this is also done only if there is insufficient healthy jawbone to work with. It is the most complex of the three types, and is considered a kind of last-resort process.
- No pain or discomfort during implant surgery
You may have wondered to yourself, “Do dental implants hurt?” Something that will appeal to any prospective candidate for dental implants is the fact that there is no pain or discomfort during implant surgery. Some kind of anesthetic will always be used, so the patient feels no pain whatsoever, and is only aware of some pressure as the process goes on. There is also no pain or discomfort felt during the recovery period, although some patients will be aware of a throbbing sensation around the sutures which get installed during surgery. For this, any over-the-counter pain relief medication can be taken, and it will effectively manage whatever discomfort you may be feeling.