Are Dental Implants Right For Me?

Lost a tooth recently or need surgery and looking at dental implants?  While a more expensive option than removable dentures or an individual crown, dental implants are considered to be the closest thing you can get today to replicating your natural teeth.  This means that not only will a dental implant feel more natural to you, it will be stronger and last for a longer period of time.

Dentures vs. Implants

In the past replacing damaged or missing teeth was a matter of fixing dentures and bridges that attached to the adjacent teeth.  While fine in the short term, dentures can cause damage to the teeth over time or can become loose in the case of bone loss in the jaw.  Dentures can also be difficult to look after, requiring special care and frequent visits to the dentist.  Dental implants, on the other hand, provide a more permanent solution:  made out of biocompatible titanium, a dental implant becomes a solid foundation on which replacement teeth can sit.  Because titanium is accepted by the body, the existing bone into which the titanium is placed will actually “bond” with the implant, creating an unusually strong and stable tooth.  Once the surgery is completed your new teeth will feel and act just like your old teeth – you’ll be able to eat normal foods, and brush and floss your teeth as you did before the implants.

Process For Getting Dental Implants

The process for getting dental implants is designed to be as quick and pain-free as possible.  The first step is to attend an initial consultation at which your dentist or dental implant specialist will discuss a treatment plan with you.  The next steps will involve a number of appointments at which you will be fitted with the titanium implant and then the replacement tooth or teeth.  At every stage your dentist will ensure that you are comfortable with the process and are happy with the results.  Costs can vary between dentists and implant specialists, although normally such a surgical procedure will cost in the range of $5000 for a single tooth replacement.  Some private health insurance companies will help pay for some of the costs associated with dental implants, and if you are considering such surgery it would be worth checking your insurance provider for details.

While today’s dental implants take advantage of the latest in modern surgical techniques and materials, they actually have been used safely and effectively for around 30 years.  They are, in fact, considered by dentists to be one of the best and most successful ways to replace teeth.  According to the Australian Dental Association, the success rate for dental implants is currently at 98 per cent for those fitted in the lower jaw, with a rate of over 90 per cent for those fitted further back in the mouth.   As with all surgery there are factors that limit the success of the surgical procedure.  For dental implants success rates are lower for people who smoke, are alcoholic or who have certain types of psychiatric disorders, or if they lack enough bone in their jaws.

Dental implants are today a common and very safe method of replacing teeth, and will last much longer than traditional dentures and bridges.  Getting any type of dental procedure or cosmetic surgery can generate a variety of complex fears and emotions, but finding a good dental implant specialist can help make the process easier.

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