Dental implants — are they for you?
Many people suffer from tooth loss. This can be due to an accident or gum disease.
Sometimes decay under a bridge can lead to the loss of multiple teeth at one time.
As a result many people have turned to dentures as a way to replace their lost teeth. The downsides to dentures are well known: they can be bulky and uncomfortable, and they’re not always secure. This can make chewing certain foods difficult or lead to embarrassing situations, like having your denture fall out during a dinner party.
But there is an option: Dental implants. They function and look like natural teeth and can provide a comfortable normal chewing experience.
Many people are afraid of the idea of a dental implant and assume that the procedure is painful. In fact, most implant surgeries are done with a local anaesthetic — and are not painful. Most patients report that after the procedure there is minimal discomfort, which can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication.
How does it work?
Dental implants are titanium screws that replace the roots of a missing tooth. Due to the biocompatible properties of titanium the dental implant fuses with the bone and becomes a good anchor to support a replacement tooth. Then a crown (the visual part of the tooth) is placed on top. When this process is completed the implant will look and function, like a natural tooth.
Dental implants can be used to replace single or multiple teeth. They can also be used to support a loose or unstable denture, which can give the denture-wearer more confidence in social settings and even allow them to eat those difficult to chew foods. In some cases a complete denture can be replaced entirely with a fixed non-removable set of teeth.
Are implants for everyone?
When considering who is right for a dental implant, overall health and amount of bone are the major considerations. Age is only a small factor. An x-ray can determine how much bone is present in the area. Sometimes tomography or CT may be indicated to determine if adequate bone is present.
In today’s modern era of dentistry, implants have become a regular dental procedure.
Many dentists are placing the dental implants themselves so you can have the whole procedure done in one location with the dentist you are comfortable with. This also makes the procedure more cost effective and accessible to more people.
Ask your dental professional about dental implants. They are improving quality of life functionally and esthetically for thousands of people worldwide.
About the Author: Dr Kurtz is a graduate of The University of Toronto Dental School. He maintains a general dentistry practice in Toronto, with a large focus on implant and cosmetic dentistry. For more information go to TorontoDentalGroup.com
Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Stígur Karlsson