The landscape of dentistry is changing. Before, if you had a missing tooth, the only options for covering it up were dentures or bridges. At the time, those solutions were good enough… but now, there’s a better way: dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are screw-like fixtures that are embedded into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth root. The part that actually looks like the missing tooth is the crown, which is attached to the implant with an abutment.
What makes dental implants better than dentures or bridges?
Many people with dentures complain about slippage, for good reason. Even high-quality dentures with a good fit are going to slip around sometimes. Those slips make it more difficult to eat, more difficult to talk, and can lead to some embarrassing moments when dentures slip out of your mouth entirely.
A lot of people also have some trouble losing their dentures, especially the elderly, who are more likely to both need dentures and not have the sharpest memory than any other demographic. You can’t lose something that is embedded in your jawbone.
Also, recent studies are showing that there is a health risk for seniors who forget to take their dentures out at night. The dentures retain significant moisture, and if you leave them while you sleep it increases your risk of getting pneumonia. Dental implants won’t give you pneumonia.
Those problems associated with dentures don’t apply to bridges, but bridges do come with their own set of problems. To make bridges fit, the dentist will usually have to shave off some material from neighboring teeth to make room for the bridge. This sort of forced damage isn’t necessary for dental implants.
When you lose a tooth, the jawbone underneath weakens and eventually breaks down. Both dentures and bridges do nothing to stop this from happening. This results in an unattractive, sunken-jaw look. Conversely, dental implants do support the bone, so you can maintain a normal jawline.
Are there any restrictions regarding who can get dental implants?
Most people can get dental implants, however, there are exceptions regarding people who don’t have a strong enough jawbone to support the implant. Those with poor oral hygiene habits and heavy smokers may not have strong enough jaws for dental implants.
Also, even if your jawbone is strong enough, money might be an issue. Most dental insurance plans don’t cover dental implants. It may be covered by your general health insurance plan, depending on how you lost your tooth. You’ll have to check what your situation is with your healthcare provider.
For a leading Dental Implant Dentist, contact Dr. Kwon today at (253) 770-0198.