If you have missing, damaged, or decaying teeth there are several different dental devices and procedures that can help you. You likely want to get back to a place where you can eat what you want without pain or discomfort and feel confident when you smile and interact with others. Potential options include dentures, bridges, and dental implants. The best option-or combination of options-is dependent on the specifics of your situation. You will need to work closely with your dentist to decide which procedures or devices will work best for you.
One of the biggest differences in the available options for teeth replacement is whether they are removable or permanent. Dentures are often designed to be completely removable. Bridges can be either removable or permanent. What about dental implants? Are they a permanent solution or do they come with the same functionality as other tooth replacement options? Dental implants stand out from the other tooth replacement options because of how they are placed, the way they function, and how long they can last.
How are dental implants placed?
Dental implants are made with surgical grade titanium. The titanium post is surgically placed beneath the gums into the bone. Eventually the implant will fuse to the bone and create a strong and secure replacement for your missing tooth. Any general dentist can offer implant placement but there are some dentists with additional training in placing implants. Choosing a dentist with additional training and extensive experience placing dental implants will help you have the best experience and results possible.
How do dental implants function?
Dental implants function like your natural teeth. The titanium post acts as a replacement for the roots that were once there providing support and stability. They become a part of your jaw which makes implants a permanent solution for tooth loss. Once you have a dental implant placed you can treat it the same way you treat your natural teeth. You will be able to eat, talk, and smile without worrying about your implant shifting or looking bad.
How long can dental implants last?
Dental implants are designed to be a permanent solution to tooth loss. Because the implants fuse with your jaw it would take a very serious injury to compromise the functionality. The titanium post is the most permanent part of the implant. The replacement tooth is attached to the post after it is placed. If there is ever an issue with the replacement tooth your dentist can make repairs to it or attach a new tooth to the post.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss. But, some patients are intimidated by the thought of having the procedure to place implants. This process is more invasive than other options, such as getting a bridge. But, once you have a dental implant placed you can move on with your life and treat it like one of your natural teeth. There is no ongoing special care or future refitting that has to happen with dental implants. And, there are anesthesia options to help you get through the procedure without pain or anxiety. If you want to look into the possibility of getting a dental implant the first step is to schedule a time to talk with your dentist about your options.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.