While dental care has come a long way in the last fifty years, millions of Americans are still dealing with tooth loss. This generally occurs as a result of tooth decay, gum disease, or injury. Treating tooth loss has historically been one of the biggest challenges in dentistry — wooden artificial teeth gave way to dentures and bridges, which have improved significantly over the last few decades. However, there’s another contemporary option which is often even better: dental implants. Dental implants are effectively a replacement tooth, mounted via implantation into the jawbone much like a real tooth. This is accomplished via a titanium screw surgically implanted into the jaw bone with an artificial replacement tooth mounted to it.
So, what makes dental implants so much better than other options? Why are they such an improvement over bridges and dentures? Let’s take a look!
Advantages of Dental Implants
While dental implants may have different pros and cons depending on your unique situation, they have some big, consistent advantages for most people. Here are the top five reasons to get dental implants in no particular order.
- Improved appearance vs dentures or bridges. The latter can cause swelling or a “puffy-mouth” look until your body adjusts, whereas dental implants look and function like natural teeth right away. This means there’s no adjustment period once they are in place; you just go about your life like normal!
- Easier speech, eating, and greater comfort. Compared to other forms of dental prosthetics, dental implants make everything easier. New users of dentures or bridges need time to learn how to eat, talk, and just live comfortably in them. This may take time, and often limits a patient’s ability to participate in some normal activities at least for a while. While dental implants take longer to install, once in place they function like natural teeth and allow the patient to step back into their normal routine without further disruption.
- Durability and convenience. Dentures and bridges are notoriously fussy and need a lot of care. Dentures require frequent specialized cleanings, oral adhesives to keep them in place, and perhaps the occasional refitting or replacement. Bridges need to be cleaned carefully and may also require repair or replacement on occasion. By contrast, dental implants are meant to be permanent features, intended to last a lifetime much like a natural tooth.
- Ease of care. Dentures, bridges, and other prostheses require specialized cleaning, as we ‘ve said, but they’re also prone to wear and tear and need replacement from time to time. This can be especially true in relatively younger patients, whose teeth and jaws may still be developing or shifting. By contrast, dental implants function much like natural teeth, implanted into the jaw and long-lasting. They don’t require replacement unless damaged and caring for them requires the same regular brushing and flossing as natural teeth. They tend to be much easier on the patient and fit into daily routines smoothly.
- Confidence! While may folks with dentures or bridges lead active, full lives, it’s a fact that most folks feel more comfortable and confident with implants. They’re more sure of their ability to do the things they want to do on a daily basis, feel better about their appearance, and spend less time worrying about their teeth. It can be a huge change for the positive.
While dental implants are pretty amazing, they may not be the right choice for everyone. Your dentist will work with you to decide what the best option is for you and help you use it to live your best life. Patients with weakened jawbones, chronic gum problems, or similar issues may be better off with another option. However, in the right patient dental implants are hugely successful—something like 98%—so it’s definitely worth asking your dentist if dental implants are right for you!