What is a Dental Implant?
Implants are a tooth replacement option that involves placing a new "root" into the bone of your jaw. Once this titanium "root" has fused with your bone it can be used to support a crown, bridge or denture. These implants can also be used to replace partials and other forms of dentures. The success rate for dental implants are extremely high and is due in part to the fact that root-form implants are made of a biocompatible material, titanium. Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements. Dental Implants have now become the standard for replacing older dentistry and missing teeth because they look and feel like your natural teeth and have a higher success rate than all other forms of tooth replacement. The initial cost is generally higher for an implant over other forms of tooth replacement, but the long term benefits easily outweigh the difference in additional cost. An investment in implant dentistry is an investment in overall health, appearance and well being, as it involves preserving the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth.
Why are dental implants the best option?
Dental implants can last a lifetime, unlike bridges, partials and dentures that may need to be replaced several times. Unlike bridges, partials and dentures, a dental implant replaces the lost tooth root, which will prevent jaw bone resorption that occurs with bridges, partials and dentures. The loss of tooth roots will cause a change of the smile and contours of the face over time. A bridge, once the common single tooth replacement method, requires the alteration of each neighboring healthy tooth, which is cut down and shaped to accept a crown. With dental implant treatment, there is no compromise to adjacent teeth. The lost root and crown is replaced leaving neighboring healthy teeth in place. Removable partials connect to healthy teeth by hooks. Partials may be removed for cleaning and may need to be replaced often. A partial hook connected to healthy teeth will create tooth stress and will loosen the healthy teeth over time. Full arch dentures and partials have the added disadvantage of accelerating the bone resorption process, which, among other things, causes the appearance of premature aging.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
- Dental implants prevent face altering bone loss.
- For many people, dental implants will last a lifetime.
- Implants won't damage healthy sounding teeth like other restorations.
- With dental implants, you can eat and drink anything you like.
- Implant-supported teeth won't move or get loose.
- Implants look and feel very much like natural teeth.
- Many implant wearers report improved speech.
You are NEVER too old for dental implants.
Leonard Linkow invented the first metal implant over fifty years ago as a solution for older patients that were missing all of their teeth. Your doctor will consider your overall health, but there is generally no upper age limit for dental implant treatment. Many patients well into their nineties have had dental implant treatment without difficulty.