Understanding Dental Implants (Pt. 1)

Missing teeth are embarrassing and unattractive. Missing your teeth themselves is bad enough, but their impact isn’t just in your smile.

Missing teeth also:

  • Affect your ability to speak
  • Affect your ability to chew properly
  • Change the shape of your face
  • Cause the teeth that are left to move out of place
  • Contribute to bone loss in your mouth

You’re not alone! On average, an adult has three, or possibly more missing teeth, or at least teeth that are decayed (and without care, on their way to being missing). Our patients in Kennewick, WA have lots of options to help fix their smiles; among the most popular are our dental implants. Dental implants are permanent solution to the problem of missing teeth. Generally speaking, dental implants have two important parts: the anchor and the crown. The anchor is the actual implant, and it is installed in the bone below the gums where a tooth is missing. The crown is the visible portion, although the idea behind them is to blend in with your remaining teeth. A dental implant is doing its job when nobody knows it’s there but you!

Advantages of Implants

Implants have a number advantages over other solutions for missing teeth.

Implants vs. Bridges

A dental bridge fills the gap left by a missing tooth. The artificial tooth is held in place by a prosthesis which is connected to crowns on the teeth on each side of the open space. Bridges simulate the look and function of normal teeth to a degree, but they’re just not as effective as dental implants.

Here’s why:

Implants last longer: Bridges need to be replaced at least every ten years if they’re cared for properly, but usually their “lifespan” is seven years, and in some cases, only five. Dental implants can last a lifetime if they’re taken care of by the patient, with only occasional adjustments from your dentist.

Bridges often require filing of teeth: For a bridge to fit properly, often the natural teeth which support the bridge have to be filed down. This creates the risk for increased plaque and decay, gum disease, and raises your chances for needing a root canal in the future.

Implants vs. Dentures

Dentures are a form of prosthesis. They are usually removable, but fixed dentures (held in place by dental implants) are growing in popularity (we offer them in our practice).

Dentures have a tendency to slip out: Dentures are supported by the tissues (hard and soft) in your mouth, and also rely on adhesives to stay in place. If the dentures are incorrectly placed, or the adhesive fails for some reason, they can fall out. This is so common it’s become a bit of a comedy cliche: Grandma takes a drink, dentures fall into the glass, everyone has a good laugh (everyone except Grandma, that is).

Dentures can put your natural teeth at risk: Poorly fitted or placed dentures can also promote infection and decay in other teeth, especially the teeth that help hold the dentures in place.

Dentures can make an embarrassing “click” sound: Once again, improperly placed dentures are the cause for this all-too-common problem. Dentures can slip at any time. All it takes is an ill-timed cough, yawn, laugh, or even a smile. When this happens, you have to readjust the position of the dentures or every time you speak it will create a very noticeable clicking sound.

Other Advantages of Implants Over Other Treatments:

Implants are a better solution over both bridges and dentures in a number of ways:

  • No need to change your diet
  • Low maintenance for the patient
  • Protects remaining teeth and healthy bone in the jaw
  • Maintains the shape of your face
  • Don’t impede speech or other important functions relating to your bite
  • Simulates the function and appearance of natural teeth far better than dentures or bridges
  • Have been shown to be much more reliable than dentures or bridges

What Implant Options are Available at Marineland Dental Care?

Marineland Dental Care offers:

Dental Implants: These are “standard” dental implants and are appropriate for most people who are missing teeth  (and are good candidates for the treatment; more on this later). As described earlier, an anchor is embedded in the jawbone, and it is capped with a tooth-like crown. Bone and healthy tissue grow around the dental implant over time, holding it in place.

Dentures with Dental Implants: Dentures held in place with dental implants are ideal for patients who may not be ideal candidates for “standard” dental implants, but are still able to accept an implant. This allows dentures to have many of the advantages of implants while still being removable.

Mini Dental Implants: Mini Dental Implants are smaller than normal dental implants, and are another option for patients who are also good candidates for dentures held by dental implants.

Don’t Live With The Embarrassment of a Smile That’s Missing Teeth!

In our next couple of posts, we’ll dig deeper into the different kinds of implants we offer. We’ll also discuss what makes a patient a “good candidate” for implants.

If you don’t want to wait for our next post to learn more, or if you need a dental appointment for any reason, call us now at 509-591-0515, or use our online appointment form to make the first steps towards restoring your smile, your confidence, and good oral health!

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