According to dental experts, proper oral hygiene habits should keep your teeth healthy and strong for life. Unfortunately, this isn't the case for about 50% of the population. Tooth loss is common among adults, especially those over the age of 64. Tooth loss can be due to genetics, poor oral care, lack of access to quality dental care, trauma, as well as other factors.
Missing teeth can create a domino effect, leading to a variety of additional oral and overall health issues. This is why tooth replacement is so important. Shahbazyan Dental Studio in Fresno offers several tooth replacement options including dental implants.
In this article, we'll explore more about this tooth replacement option, including the life expectancy.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a device designed to replace the entire structure of a missing tooth in appearance, feel, and functionality. There are two types of dental implants: traditional and mini.
Traditional implants consist of three parts: the implant screw, the crown, and the abutment. The implant screw replaces the tooth roots. The crown replaces the visible portion of the tooth. The abutment connects the two pieces.
Mini dental implants consist of two parts: the implant screw and the abutment are one piece, and the crown is separate. These are slightly smaller than a traditional implant, making them ideal for patients who have a smaller-than-average mouth or who have some jawbone deterioration.
On average, dental implants cost around $5,000 per tooth. Therefore, while this is the most natural option, it is also the most expensive. Unfortunately, many dental insurance plans will not cover treatment because they classify it as cosmetic/elective since there are other, less expensive options available.
Steps for Getting Dental Implants
The process for getting dental implants can take up to a year, depending on additional procedures needed as well as how your body heals.
The first step for any dental procedure at Shahbazyan Dental Studio is the initial consultation. During this visit, we will examine your mouth as well as discuss your dental and medical history and current conditions. We will also discuss your expectations for treatment. This information will be used to create your customized treatment plan.
The next step is to perform any preliminary procedures, including extractions, gum disease treatment, bone grafting, and more. These will prepare your gums and jawbone for the implants.
Implant placement requires oral surgery. The dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area first. If necessary, sedation will be provided for patients who are anxious or who are unable to lie still. An incision will be made in the gum and a hole drilled in the jawbone. The implant screw will be placed and the incision stitched up.
Over the next few weeks and months, the process of osseointegration will take place, which involves the jawbone healing around and fusing with the implant screw. This will create a stable base for the crown.
Once the jawbone has healed completely, the incision will be opened to attach the abutment. A healing cap will be placed on top to prevent the gum from closing over it and the crown will be ordered. In a few weeks, the gum will be healed, and the crown will be ready. The healing cap will be removed, and the crown cemented in place.
Top 4 Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer several benefits over other tooth replacement options, including:
implants are more natural-looking than other options because they are held in place by the jawbone.
implants don't slip around in the mouth, which means they feel better than other options.
implants are custom-made to match your remaining natural teeth, which means you won't struggle to speak clearly
Improved oral health:
implants protect your jawbone from deterioration and protect your gums from bacteria and plaque buildup.
Dental Implant Life Expectancy
Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, with proper care and maintenance. That being said, you may have to replace the crown after several years- but it should last up to 20 years or more with proper oral hygiene.
There are several factors that can impact the life expectancy of your dental implants, including:
Dental implants require adequate jawbone density to support them. If the jawbone isn't there, the implant isn't supported and can fail. In these cases, mini implants may be recommended, as they sit on top of or above the jawbone.
While artificial teeth cannot decay, it's still important to care for them. You should brush at least twice daily and floss at least once. This will prevent bacteria and plaque buildup and reduce your risk of implant failure.
Smoking increases your risk of many oral and overall health issues, including dental implant failure.
While any patient over the age of 18 can get dental implants, it's important to note that older patients are at an increased risk of failure because they often have underlying health conditions.
Underlying health conditions
Certain health conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, gum disease, and more can increase your risk of implant failure.
How to Care for Dental Implants?
Dental implants do not require any special considerations for care and maintenance. You simply care for them as you would your natural teeth:
Brush twice daily:
use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste
Floss at least once daily:
a water flosser is best and can get into the crevices between teeth to remove more plaque and bacteria
Use alcohol-free mouthwash:
mouthwash can kill bacteria that brushing and flossing leaves behind
Visit the dentist every 6 months:
the dentist will perform a comprehensive exam including x-rays, as well as do a deep cleaning. This will help to diagnose and treat any issues before they escalate.
Dental Implants: The Gold Standard
The primary reason that dental implants are considered the best is because they look, feel, and function more like natural teeth than other options. In addition, they do not require any special considerations for care. The primary disadvantage is the process of getting implants and the cost.
However, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance, making them worth the investment.
The team at Shahbazyan Dental Studio appreciates the importance of understanding a procedure before agreeing to it. Therefore, we are happy to address any of your questions or concerns. Below are some of the most common questions that we get about dental implants.
Are dental implants permanent?
Yes, dental implants are designed to be a permanent, lifelong solution.
Are dental implants safe?
Yes, dental implants have been proven safe for patients who are in good health and take care of their oral health. However, there may be some complications in those who have underlying health conditions or who do not take care of their oral health.
How much do dental implants cost?
On average, dental implants are around $5,000 per tooth. Some dental insurance providers will cover a portion of treatment, while others will not. If your provider does not cover treatment, or if you do not have insurance, we will be happy to explain our financing options.
How long is recovery after getting dental implants?
Recovery following implant placement usually takes about 6 months. However, it may take more or less depending on your body's ability to heal. The entire process can take up to a year depending on healing and additional procedures required.
What is the difference between a dental implant and a bridge?
A dental implant is designed to replace a single missing tooth. It is implanted into the jawbone to create a base for the replacement tooth. A dental bridge is secured to the adjacent teeth with dental crowns, which means the natural teeth must be altered to create space for the crowns.