Losing your teeth is traumatic, and has a negative impact on your appearance, your oral and overall health, as well as your self confidence. For years, the only options available for addressing the problems caused by lost teeth was limited to conventional dentures, and dental bridges, which while effective (and still in use today) have many serious drawbacks, including an increased risk of developing infections, limitations in performance (your bite strength) and aesthetics, and the need for constant replacement.
Dental implants, however, have none of these drawbacks; in fact, they’re about as close as you will get to replacing the teeth you have lost with natural teeth! As Edmond, OK dental implants experts we offer implants and implant-supported dentures to our patients seeking a permanent, zero-compromise, zero-hassle solution to the challenges presented by lost teeth.
Chuck Yeager, the American pilot and general, said of the astronauts who were to make the first manned journey into space that they had “The right stuff”.
While it’s not exactly launching a rocket into space, you do indeed need to have the “right stuff” if you want dental implants. Getting dental implants is a surgical procedure, which means that there are certain criteria that you must meet in terms of your oral and overall health.
Do You Have The Right Stuff?
What does it take to get dental implants? You don’t have to be as healthy as an astronaut, but you need to be well enough to both undergo the necessary surgical procedures to have your implants placed, and your body must be able to support the dental implant, to avoid complications and the rare (but serious) failure of your dental implant.
Keep in mind that these aren’t “requirements” but guidelines. In many cases, patients who aren’t well enough to support dental implants may still get them, provided that the problems that prevented them from getting implants immediately are addressed. Ultimately, only your dentist will be able to tell you if you’re able to get implants (sooner, later, or not at all in a minority of cases).
Who Can Get Dental Implants?
Placing dental implants is an intensive surgical procedure, and you will need to be under general anesthesia for the procedure. Implants get their incredible effectiveness because they are embedded directly into your jawbone, below the gums. Implants are in this sense “true” artificial teeth, complete with artificial roots that function exactly like the real thing!
This means that to get dental implants, you must be able to tolerate general anesthesia. Some people simply don’t mix well with general anesthesia, and complications can be quite serious, and even deadly. Your dentist will want to know if you have ever had a bad experience with anesthesia, as well as get a good understanding of your general health background.
You should also be free of serious diseases and health problems including autoimmune disorders, arthritis, Type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. These conditions can present a threat of serious complications during implant placement, during the healing process, and may threaten the success of your implant. Your dentist will be able to determine the impact, if any, these diseases (and others) will have on your suitability as a candidate.
Only Adult Nonsmokers Need Apply
Only adults can get dental implants because their jaws and bodies are fully developed; teenagers and children are still growing, and a dental implant in a jaw that is still growing is very likely, almost certain to fail. This is because the implant needs a steady foundation of bone to stay firmly in place and to do its job.
Smokers who are interested in getting dental implants are strongly advised to quit the habit. Besides all the well-known health effects caused by smoking, when it comes to dental implants, smoking retards the healing process that is critical to the success of dental implants; your gums need to heal properly, and your jawbone must be able to fuse with the implant as it undergoes osseointegration (literally “coming together with the bone”), which is what makes implants work so well. Furthermore, smoking also contributes to teeth-grinding (bruxism) that will put a lot of stress on your implants, and your remaining teeth as well that can result in serious damage.
Overcoming the Oral Health Hurdle
The leading cause of tooth loss in the US isn’t injury; by far, more teeth are lost due to periodontal disease (gum disease) than any other reason. Gum disease degrades your gums and oral tissues, and your jawbone, which are important in keeping your teeth in place; when they are degraded enough, the tooth comes out. After the tooth is lost, your jawbone will continue to lose bone density.
Bone density in your jawbone must be sufficient to support a dental implant. If it is determined that your jawbone isn’t “strong enough”, your dentist may recommend a procedure known as a bone graft to beef up your jawbone so it can support an implant. A bone graft is the transplantation of bone from one place in your body to another.
Ready to Launch?
Dental implants are your best bet if you want to get your health, smile, and confidence back that have been lost due to missing teeth. You should make an appointment with your dentist to see if dental implants are right for you!
Dial 405-757-2030 or click here to book your appointment right now, online!
When you lose a tooth, or as in some cases, teeth (this happens more than you might think), your life changes, and not for the better. The first change is obvious, as those gaps in your teeth will ruin your smile;leading to a drop in self-confidence. It won’t help that missing teeth will cause your face to cave-in like a flan in a cupboard. You’ll notice too that it has become much harder to chew food, and even speaking so that you’re understood becomes a challenge.
As your jaw gradually moves out of alignment (your teeth play a major role in keeping your jaws “straight”) your teeth that are left will sustain serious damage; the fractures, chips, and cracks are gateways for infection and serious disease. It even gets worse from here, as your remaining teeth will even start to move out of place because of the space created by gaps. It’s no wonder then that if you’ve lost one tooth, you’ll eventually lose another (and another, and another) until you do something about it.
It used to be, if you needed to have your missing teeth replaced, your only options were either a dental bridge (an artificial tooth or set of teeth supported by a pair of crowns), or dentures. Today, you have a third option: dental implants from Santa Fe Dental in Edmond, OK.
Dental implants are far and away the superior solution for replacing lost teeth. Dental implants will give you back your smile, as well as the total function of your teeth without the compromises of more conventional solutions.
How Are Dental Implants Better Than Dentures or a Bridge?
It’s not that dentures or a bridge won’t work; in fact, many people still get these more traditional procedures and appliances for several reasons, including not being healthy enough to get dental implants (more on what makes a good candidate for dental implants later). However, assuming you are healthy enough to have dental implants installed, they offer better performance, better aesthetics, with less maintenance, all with one installation. Dental implants that have been placed properly by a skilled dentist will last you the rest of your life; there won’t be any need to return to the dentist to replace dental implants that have “worn out” (with the exception of implants that are broken due to injury). You will need to have your implants checked by your dentist regularly, but this shouldn’t be any more inconvenient than the twice yearly visits you already make to the dentist.
How Do Dental Implants Stack Up Against Dentures?
Dentures are still very popular; they have the lowest cost of all three solutions for missing teeth, which accounts for much of their popularity. It must be that because dentures have a lot of problems; if dentures were more expensive, we doubt they’d be very much in use at all.
Dentures: A Bad Fit
Dentures are a form of prosthetics; they simulate the appearance, and to a limited degree, the function of normal teeth. They are custom-designed to fit your mouth. Dentures depend on their fit to stay in place and do their job; though adhesives are also used, your dentures (theoretically) stay in place by how they interact with your oral tissues (such as the roof of your mouth and gums) and certain teeth, depending on where the dentures are in your mouth.
Dentures do look like normal teeth, but they don’t work as well. As it turns out, your teeth are deceptively simple; nothing we have developed in dental technology can match your natural teeth; it’s a pretty tough standard to reach, but dentures fail miserably in this regard: dentures only allow you to have 10% of your natural biting strength. The strength of your bite determines the food you eat and how you sound when you speak among other things. When you have dentures, you are operating on “Teeth Lite”.
Besides reduced performance, dentures have another problem. The fit that is so important to their successful functioning will eventually be lost. There are lots of reasons why dentures lose their fit: for example, if you lose weight, it will change the shape of your oral tissues and cause dentures to no longer fit as they once did!
Dentures that slip and slide are so common, it has become a cliché: who hasn’t seen some lame sitcom where Grandma’s teeth fall out, usually into a glass? It might look sort of funny on television, but if you’re out and about when suddenly your dentures fall out of your mouth, it won’t seem like something to laugh about.
Beyond embarrassment, slippery dentures can cause infections. Mouth sores will form where the dentures rub up against your oral tissues, and these become pathways for infection and eventually disease (that might make you lose even more teeth).
Don’t Settle for Dentures! Learn Today if You Can Have Dental Implants!
In our next post, we’ll talk more about the benefits and advantages of dental implants, and what it takes to receive them.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for our next blog post: simply give us a call and make an appointment!
Dial 405-757-2030 to reach our office, Santa Fe Dental in Edmond, OK, or click here to access our online appointment form and book your consultation right now!