When patients need teeth replaced, there are multiple options to choose from. Dentists may recommend a dental implant to a patient, but if they don’t know what dental implants are, it can be hard to decide if it’s the right choice for a dental treatment. Understanding dental implants and how the process works can help patients decide whether to get dental implants or find a different option to replace damaged teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Before making a decision about dental work, many people need to understand why dentists make recommendations for specific treatment plans. In addition, advantages can be weighed against drawbacks to help patients make their decision. That can help them understand so they can make an informed decision. Some of the benefits of dental implants are:
- A more natural-looking smile than alternatives
- Reduced risk of damage from everyday use
- Longer-lasting solution compared to alternatives
- Bite strength similar to natural teeth
These advantages lead many people to choose dental implants. When weighed against possible drawbacks as well as advantages to other treatment approaches, patients decide that dental implants are their best choice to get the smile they want.
Getting Dental Implants
Typically, the process of getting a dental implant is a multi-stage outpatient surgery. Sometimes the process can take months to allow for healing and the multiple stages needed to reach completion. The typical process for dental implants is:
- The damaged tooth is removed.
- The jawbone is prepared for the implant and given time to heal.
- The dental implant post, which is metal, is placed into your jawbone and you are given time to heal.
- The abutment is placed to extend the metal post.
- After the soft tissues have healed, molds of your teeth and jawbone are made. The dentist can then place the tooth on the abutment.
Since healing time is required between some phases, the length of time required for the entire process can vary greatly. In addition, some patients may require bone grafting to prepare the jawbone. When that happens, additional healing time may be needed.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures
There are advantages and disadvantages to both dental implants and dentures. Comparing the two can provide information that can help patients decide the best option for their dental needs when they have damaged teeth that need to be replaced.
Dental implants appear more natural and can be used for a single tooth or all teeth. However, the time it takes for the process to be complete can be lengthy, particularly if the patient needs additional recovery time between phases. There are some patients whose jawbones will not support dental implants. Evaluations by the oral surgeon can determine this. Dental implants can also be expensive.
Conversely, dentures can be provided more quickly, but they can cause problems if not fitted properly and can become damaged more easily. In addition, dentures need to be replaced more frequently than dental implants. While some dentures can last many years, others need to be replaced after only a few years. This depends on the individual patient.
Dental Implants after Dentures
After making the choice to get dentures, patients may have problems that cause them to decide that dental implants would be a better choice for their needs. Patients who have worn dentures may be able to get dental implants later. However, the patient will need to be evaluated to ensure that the process would be safe and would work for the patient.
When dentures are worn for multiple years, the bones in the jaw begin to wear down. This does not mean that patients cannot get dental implants, but it may mean more extensive surgical preparation for the dental implants. The patient may have to have bone grafting to repair the damage to the jawbone. This can mean that the process will take longer but does not mean dental implants cannot be done.
When teeth need to be replaced, there are multiple options for patients. Dental implants can be used to replace damaged teeth and give patients a natural-looking smile. Though dental implants can be a lengthy process, it is an effective solution. Dental implants are a long-lasting dental treatment and will give the look and feel of natural teeth. If you want to learn more or are considering dental implants to replace damaged teeth, contact our office today for an appointment.