The purpose of dental implants is to restore the mouth as closely as possible to its natural state. Through surgery, a lost tooth or teeth is replaced so that it will look, fit, feel and function like natural teeth. Although it is not the cheapest dental option available, it is a one-time investment that will provide you with a beautiful natural smile and teeth that will never decay.
With dental implants, there are several advantages. Nothing in your mouth will look or feel artificial, so you will have a beautiful, natural-looking smile! Eating is totally comfortable and you don’t have to avoid any food types, so you will enjoy much better quality of life. Dental implants also do not impact on your speech and they can be cleaned in the same way that you clean the rest of your teeth.
There are other very important benefits to dental implants too. Dental implants prevent bone resorption (a process where bone is broken down) of the jaw, resulting in your facial features remaining intact. Bone resorption when teeth are lost, cause your facial features to change – and dental implants will prevent this from happening. They also do not compromise adjacent teeth.
Patients report that dental implants (also called implant supported replacement teeth) help to restore self-esteem and boost self-confidence tremendously, and that they were so happy to have regained functionality of their teeth, were able to eat easily again and that they were experiencing improved overall health.
It rarely happens that someone does not qualify for dental implants, but there are some people who don’t. Your dentist is the best person to decide whether you are suitable for dental implants, so the only way to know for sure is to make an appointment so that your dentist can do a careful assessment and give you an educated opinion.
Generally, though, you should have healthy gums, enough bone in your jaw for an implant (in some cases this can be built, though) and be someone who will continue to maintain good oral hygiene if you are considering dental implants.
People who are normally not good candidates for implants (some temporarily and others sometimes permanently) include kids whose jawbones are still growing, pregnant women and people who severely grind their teeth. (The latter can cause the implant to fail, though your dentist could suggest a night guard.) Other people who would also not be suitable for implants are heavy smokers (smoking hampers healing), substance abusers such as alcoholics who are likely to not keep a follow-up appointment or practice good oral hygiene after the implant, and individuals who take specific medications such as drugs that suppress the immune system or steroids. People who have received major radiation treatments of the head or neck and those with severe chronic or systemic issues such as uncontrolled diabetes, hemophilia (a serious disease where the blood flow from someone’s body can’t be stopped when they are hurt), connective tissue problems and major immune deficiencies would also not qualify for dental implants.
Implant options and the process
You can have one, some or even all teeth replaced with dental implants! If you had to opt to have all your teeth replaced with normal dental implants, several visits to your dentist would be necessary – whether you opted for one, 6 or more implants. The alternative is the All-on-4 method, a technologically advanced technique that can be completed in just one visit.
With all dental implant request consultations, your dentist will first examine your teeth and whole mouth, and discuss your dental and general medical history with you. Imaging of your teeth will be taken via x-rays and you might also have a CT (computed tomography) scan to determine how much bone your jaw contains, how your jaw is shaped and where your sinuses and nerves are. Your needs and possibilities will then be assessed and discussed with you, and a plan of action will be suggested by your dentist. Work will then begin. With dental implants patients normally return to work or normal life the next day and any discomfort can be resolved with mild pain medication.
The All-on-4 (AO4) dental implant technique provides our patients with a full arch of missing teeth, doing only 4 dental implants. These dental implants then support a bridge or fixed/permanent dentures. The incredible thing is that it can all be done during one visit! AO4 implants are suitable for those with no natural teeth left or those who would prefer their existing ones replaced for esthetic reasons, durability and improved functionality. AO4 will provide those who opt for the treatment with comfort, normal bite and the same appearance as permanent dentures. It eliminates the need for procedures like sinus augmentation, bone grafting and other such invasive procedures. The ‘crown’, so to speak, is that it also restores facial features, giving you a facelift as it fixes facial muscle tone – making your smile look 20 years younger – and it will last a lifetime!