Missing teeth can negatively affect a person’s self-confidence, and their ability to eat and speak. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 69 percent of US adults between the ages of 35 to 44 have lost one tooth. Today, dental implants are available and are a popular solution for missing teeth. They can last longer than traditional methods and can save you money over time.
Dental implants are biocompatible cylinder-shaped replacement tooth roots made of titanium that provide a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, dental implants can be made to look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. Implants give you the confidence to eat, smile, and participate in social events without worrying about how they look or if they will fall out. They can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
At Dental Innovations of Virginia, Dr Y. Joon Coe – a certified prosthodontist – routinely replaces single and multiple missing teeth with implants. We will happily explain the details of the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. You can eat, brush, and floss just like natural teeth.
Dental implants can last a lifetime. A dental bridge typically lasts 10 to 20 years before needing to be rebuilt. Properly cared for, an implant can last for 40 years or more.
Dental implants prevent bone loss. One of the major risks of losing permanent teeth is the risk of bone loss. Implants integrate into your jawbone and stabilize it and the surrounding teeth.
Dental implants improve speech. Implants can help improve your speech because they are sturdy like your natural teeth, and they don’t change the position of your tongue as dentures would.
Dental implants are more comfortable because they become part of you and cannot loosen or fall out.
Dental implants make eating easier. You can eat, chew, and bite as if they are natural teeth.
Dental implants improve self-esteem. They look & feel just like natural teeth and allow you to smile with confidence.
Dental implants improve oral health by preserving bone density, allowing more of your own teeth to be kept intact, and reducing the risk of tooth and gum disease.
Dental implants are more convenient. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of removing dentures, or messy adhesives to keep them in place.
Diagnosis, Placement & Restoration
Your prosthodontist will perform a throughout exam of your gums, jawbone, and surrounding teeth. A customized treatment plan is created to address your unique needs and goals.
The actual dental implant surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure in stages. Holes are drilled into the bone and the dental implant is placed. Depending on your specific situation, sometimes dental implants can be placed at the time of tooth extraction.
Following a healing period, the new implants are restored with a customized solution such as crowns, bridges, or dentures – fitting them on top of the implant post.
Taking Care of Your Implants
Even though implants are not susceptible to decay caused by bacteria like natural teeth, they are still susceptible to wear and tear, and failure due to gum disease. It is essential to maintain a good daily routine which should include brushing/flossing at least twice a day and after meals.
In addition to your daily routine, you should also see your prosthodontist every 3 to 6 months for a professional exam and cleaning. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, the risk of implant failure is 90% less for patients who actively participate in a maintenance program.
Cost and Insurance Coverage
The upfront cost of a dental implant is higher than a dental bridge. However, over time, dental implants can save you money because they can easily last for the rest of your life.
At Dental Innovations of Virginia, we will follow up with your insurance provider in advance of your appointment, to see if your plan covers dental implants, and how much coverage is available.
Dental Innovations of Virginia also partners with CareCredit, a healthcare financing program.
Other Common Questions
How Painful is Getting a Dental Implant?
Your dentist/prosthodontist will use local anesthetic, similar to what you get in a fillings procedure. After the area is completely numb, your dentist can make the required incision to expose the jawbone. You should have little to no discomfort, as the area is entirely anesthetized.
How Long Does a Dental Implant Procedure Take?
Typically, your prosthodontist restores your mouth with an implant in two phases and the whole process can take between 3 to 9 months.
How Soon After a Tooth Extraction Can I Have an Implant?
In some cases, dental implants can be placed on the same day after your teeth are removed. However, it usually takes three to six months of healing before the implants are placed.
Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?
According to the American Dental Association, there are many reasons to maintain the space of a missing tooth. Missing teeth create gaps in which adjacent teeth can tilt or shift out of place. This can impact your ability to chew properly.
Dental Implants Facts and Figures
- More than 35 million Americans are missing all their teeth in one or both jaws according to prosthodontists
- 15 million people in the U.S. have crown and bridge replacements for missing teeth
- 3 million have implants and that number is growing by 500,000 a year
- 10 percent of all US dentists place implants but that is increasing
- The estimated US and European market for dental implants is expected to reach $4.2 billion by 2022
- The success rate of dental implants has been reported in scientific literature as 98 percent
- Implants performed by US dentists: 5,505,720 (2006)
- Implants performed by US general dentists: 3,103,930 (2006)
- The global prosthetic supplies market is projected to reach $4 billion by 2018
- The dental implant and prosthetic market in the U.S is projected to reach $6.4 billion by 2018
Source: American Academy of Implant Dentistry