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Dental Implants: The Facts

middle aged man and woman smiling with very nice teeth

Whether you’ve lost a few teeth or have a medical diagnosis that requires you to consider implants, the thought can be quite overwhelming. For that reason, we’ve outlined some of the need-to-know facts to help give you a little more information about what may lie ahead.

It has been estimated that 69 percent of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth, and one in four over the age of 74 have lost ALL their natural teeth.* As these stats are overwhelmingly high, many individuals will need to go through the decision of whether or not implants are the right option for them. All implant options require the need to fuse a tooth root to the existing bone. It can be a drawn-out, arduous process, but in the long run, you will have a replacement that looks like your natural teeth.

“69% of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth, and one in four over the age of 74 have lost ALL their natural teeth.”

As you loose teeth, if you decide to put off a decision to opt for replacements, you are slowly decreasing the amount of bone that once surrounded a fastened tooth. It’s been noted that there is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss and an overall decrease in height over the next few years. ** Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and triggers natural bone growth to help prevent bone loss.*

What is involved in getting dental implants?

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for permanent or removable replacement teeth.*** The process begins with an overall assessment of your teeth and jaw. There will be x-rays and molds taken to help study your mouth and bite. Once everything is assessed, and the dental team is ready to move forward, the first round of surgery is scheduled. The implants will be fitted into their permanent location, and it will take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months for them to completely fuse to the bone. Before receiving a crown, bridge or set of teeth, you may need to wait for the healing process to complete before they can permanently be put into place. The entire process and healing time do vary based on the person and their individual needs.

How successful are dental implants?

In general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%, although it does vary depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.***

“In general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%.”

There are other options for teeth replacement out there, but implants act and provide the same function as your natural teeth. When the final crown or bridge is placed on, they should be undetectable.

How do you care for dental implants?

For the most part, it’s as simple as continuing with basic oral care, brushing and flossing consistently as well as making time for regular dentist visits. For at-home cleaning, some special tools may be required to prevent damage to the metal beneath the gum line.

During your regular visits, the dentist will be monitoring the replacements to make sure they are adequately functioning, and there are no other foreseeable issues.

Other need-to-know information

Choosing implants over removable options like dentures can alter your daily life. Implants are said to be more comfortable as they become a part of your mouth. They also allow you to eat with improved ease and can help with speech as removable teeth have the possibility of slipping.

Before all major medical decisions, we recommend you do your research. Learn as much about your options as possible and seek consultation with more than one dentist or oral surgeon.

 

* American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 2013.
** ICOI, DentalImplants.com
*** WEBMD, Oral Care Guide

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