Millions of Australians suffer tooth loss, despite improvements in dental care. Tooth decay, periodontal disease, or injury are contributing factors to tooth loss and for many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. Fortunately today, dental implants are available.
So What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to mount replacement teeth or a bridge into that area. In some cases, dentures can be secured more firmly over implants to help them be retained in the mouth. An implant doesn’t come loose like a denture can. Dental implants also benefit general oral health because they do not have to be anchored to other teeth, like bridges.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
There are many advantages to dental implants, including:
- Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel almost like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
- Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep them in place.
How Successful Are Dental Implants?
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 95%. With proper care implants can last a lifetime.
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders such as diabetes or heart disease or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis.
Oral Care Tips for Implants
There are a few steps you can take to help ensure success and make your implant last.
- Practice good oral hygiene – brush twice a day and floss once daily. Using interdental brushes, brushes that slide between teeth, can help clean the hard to reach areas around your implant.
- Quit smoking – smoking can prevent the implant from successfully fusing to bone and can contribute to gum disease developing around the implant.
- Visit your dentist – cleanings and exams can help ensure your implant is in good condition, and that it stays that way.
- Avoid chewing on hard foods – don’t chew on hard items such as ice and hard candy because they can break the crown and your natural teeth.
If you think you may be interested in dental implants, talk to one of our friendly dentists at Blackburn Clinic Dental Centre today about dental implant surgery.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, please seek an opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.