Tooth loss can happen to anyone. This is true even if you are vigilant about brushing and flossing your teeth every day. Although staying on top of your dental hygiene can go a long way towards protecting your teeth, there are simply some factors you have no control over.
For instance, you may not be able to predict and avoid a minor accident that could dislodge a tooth. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the right steps to take when a tooth is knocked out. Act quickly, and you may be able to save it.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are many potential instances in which you may lose a tooth permanently. When this happens, you should meet with an oral surgeon to discuss options for replacing it.
The oral surgeon may suggest dental implants. He or she will assess your needs, as well as the condition of your jawbone, to determine whether this is the right treatment option. Here are a few considerations to be aware of when it comes to dental implants:
Implants Can Be Time-Consuming
As you learn more about dental implants, you’ll find out that the process can actually be fairly time-consuming. That’s because there are several steps. Once the oral surgeon confirms your jawbone is strong enough to support dental implants, they need to insert the titanium post and cover it with a generic crown.
It’s also worth noting that bone grafting, which involves removing bone from one part of the body and grafting it onto the jawbone, can be an option if a patient’s jawbone isn’t naturally strong enough for implants.
After this step is complete, the patient goes through a recovery period as the titanium implant fuses with the jawbone. Once this is complete, the generic crown is replaced with a custom crown that looks just like the patient’s natural teeth.
This is a lengthy process. That’s why some patients understandably want to know about other options for replacing missing teeth. However, while this is a natural reaction to have, if your oral surgeon believes that implants are the best option for your needs, it’s a good idea to consider their advice.
Implants Are a Long-Term Solution
Implants are superior to other false teeth in most cases. In the short run, you may find it’s more convenient to replace missing teeth with another option. However, in the long run, you’ll generally be better off with implants.
First of all, you need to account for the long-term financial investment you’re making. It’s true that another treatment option (like a dental bridge) may seem less expensive than an implant at first. However, upon closer analysis, you’ll learn this typically isn’t the case.
Dental implants are durable. They’re made to stay in good shape for many years. While they do require some degree of maintenance, they’re more likely than bridges to stay in good condition with minimal upkeep. That means you’ll save a lot of money on repairs and future treatments.
Implants Are Better for Oral Health
Additionally, when a person loses a tooth, bone loss can eventually occur. Dental implants are effective at preventing this from happening. Bridges do not address this problem. This means that implants offer more comprehensive treatment.
Instead of merely correcting the cosmetic issues that develop when a patient loses a tooth, they address the overall health consequences associated with tooth loss. Without an implant, bone loss could eventually have a negative impact on a patient’s facial structure.
It’s also worth noting that getting a dental bridge installed requires grinding down the teeth adjacent to the gap where a tooth was lost. That’s because crowns are installed over the two adjacent teeth, which anchor the bridge in place. In order for the crowns to fit over them, their surfaces must be ground down slightly. This isn’t necessary with a dental implant. It can be installed directly into the gap without any work being done on the nearby teeth.
Implants Are More Functional
Finally, dental implants have a high success rate and tend to be very functional. They don’t merely restore your smile. They also stay in place reliably. This allows them to function just like natural teeth. You can’t rely on other options to offer these benefits to the same degree; their lack of durability means you’ll need to constantly ensure they’re still strong enough to function properly.
That said, you should always feel comfortable discussing your concerns with your oral surgeon. If he or she believes dental implants can help you, heed that advice, but also feel free to ask questions. You’ll be much more comfortable with your treatment when you know your oral surgeon is happy to help you better understand its benefits.