Are Dental Implants For You?

By Dr. Elizabeth Fleming
January 15, 2014
Category: Uncategorized
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What is a dental implant?
In the old days, it was common for people to lose their teeth. In fact, many elderly people could expect to lose all their teeth and have to use dentures instead.

Due to the many advances in dental care and oral health over the past 50 years, today it is increasingly rare for people to lose their teeth. But when tooth loss does occur, whether it’s due to injury (a bike accident or car crash) or advanced tooth decay, dental implants are available to replace missing teeth.

Here are some of the reasons why dental implants are such a big improvement over dentures:

  • They look better. Dental implants look almost exactly like real teeth. Your friends and family probably won’t be able to tell the difference.
  • They feel better. Dental implants don’t cause discomfort (whereas dentures tend to pinch the mouth and  cause pain).
  • They’re better for eating. Many patients find that dental implants perform almost the same as the rest of their real teeth – the implants hold up well to the daily work of biting and chewing.
  • No slurring your speech. With dentures, people’s speech tends to be affected – because the dentures tend to slip and move around in their mouth, altering their speech patterns. Dental implants stay securely fitted inside your gums, thus avoiding any interference with your ability to talk.
  • They’re convenient. Remember those TV commercials for denture cleaner that you could leave your teeth in overnight? Dentures require cleaning, maintenance – sometimes they break or get misplaced. None of these issues is a concern when you have dental implants. The dental implants stay in one place – inside your mouth – and you clean them the same way you clean the rest of your teeth.
  • They’re longer-lasting. If well maintained, dental implants can last for many years – often they can last for the rest of your life.
  • They’re better for the rest of your mouth. Dental implants are a good choice because they don’t cause any impact on the rest of your mouth; whereas with bridgework, surrounding teeth have to be filed down in order to create the bridge. Dental implants tend to be better for your overall oral health.
  • They make you feel better about yourself. Dental implants create a more natural-looking smile – no dentures to worry about, no bridgework to explain to others. You can get your teeth fixed and go on with your life.

Here are a few other facts to keep in mind about dental implants:

Dental implants are not for everyone. If you are healthy enough for routine dental work, you will probably be a good candidate for dental implants. People with certain chronic health conditions, heavy smokers and people who have recently received radiation treatment to the head and neck region might not be able to receive dental implants. 

Dental implants take awhile to get done. Getting dental implants is a bit of a complicated process. In addition to talking with your regular dentist about the treatment plan, you might need to be referred to a periodontist or oral surgeon for implant placement, and/or to a dentist who specializes in restorative dentistry. You will go through a multi-step process where an implant is affixed into your jaw bone, your jaw is allowed to heal for 6-12 weeks, a small connector piece called an “abutment” is added to the implant in your jawbone, and then the replacement tooth or “crown” is added on top. This process does take some time, but the results will (hopefully) last for the rest of your life.

Dental implants might not be covered by your insurance. Talk with your dentist’s administrative staff to see what options you might have to pay for dental implants. Many dental insurance plans do not cover this type of complex restorative dental work. However, many dentists offer reasonable payment plans – and when you consider that a dental implant is likely to last for the rest of your life, getting it fixed “the right way” is often a good investment.  

If you have questions about implants and whether they are right for you, call our office today! 480-860-4300 Dr. Elizabeth Fleming and staff at Desert Ridge Smiles

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