Filling the gap: why dental implants fix more than just your smile
Who doesn’t love a beautiful smile? Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing teeth and correcting that unwanted space. They are a highly effective method of improving your appearance and involve less hassle than many other options. The cost of dental implants may be less than you think when you consider how long they last with proper care.
But did you know that implants do a lot more than fix your smile? Let’s take a closer look at exactly what dental implants are and the impressive benefits that they bring.
Dental implants – the basics
A dental implant is essentially a small screw that is usually made from titanium. It is inserted into a socket that has been prepared in the jaw bone. Here it carries out the same function as the root of a natural tooth. There is a special fixing point at the top that attaches to an artificial tooth called a crown. The titanium screw does not cause unwanted reactions with the bone but bonds with it to secure the implant in place. You can expect the procedure to involve the following stages:
· Physical examination. Your dentist will need to carry out a thorough physical examination to decide how the implant should be placed. You may also need X-rays and scans.
· Insertion. A suitable space will be created in the gum and the bone will be prepared to receive the implant. If there is not enough bone at the implant site, an extra procedure will be needed to introduce a bone graft or bone regeneration. After that, the implants will be screwed into position.
· Preparation and impression. It takes between four and six weeks for gums to heal after an implant has been inserted. Then, you will have an impression taken of your teeth so that a crown or bridge that matches the rest of your teeth can be constructed.
· Fitting the crown or bridge. The crown will be fitted to the implant using a screw or cement. Your dentist will make some final checks to make sure that it looks good and fits correctly. Adjustments will be made to align your bite – the upper and lower teeth must fit together comfortably.
Your implants should last for years but you can do a lot to maximise their lifespan and avoid problems. Giving up smoking and visiting your dentist for regular cleaning and checks are important. Your oral hygiene routine should include brushing for two minutes twice a day. You should also use interdental brushes and dental floss to clean the gaps between your teeth. Get some advice from your dentist on the best mouthwashes to use.
Is the cost of dental implants worth it?
The cutting-edge technology involved in dental implants means that there will be a significant financial outlay at the start. However, when you look at the cost spread over the life of the implant, they are a very cost-effective method of treatment.
The highest-quality materials are used together with the latest dental techniques. With the correct dental care, implants can last for decades giving you many years of confidence in your appearance and the associated sense of well-being. It’s impossible to put a price on that!
The added benefits of replacing missing teeth with dental implant
Dental implants look great and are a seamless match with your existing teeth but you get a lot more than simply looking good.
Mental health and well-being
You need to look after your mental health in the same way as you look after your physical health. Self-esteem plays a huge role in making you feel confident and good about yourself. Even a single missing tooth can knock your confidence especially in this age of sharing images on social media and the constant pressure to look good.
Replacing your missing teeth can give you the confidence to smile again and adopt a more positive attitude. This can have a knock-on effect on other aspects of your life. If you have been avoiding smiling because of the way your teeth look, you have been missing out on a vital aspect of how humans communicate with each other.
You are not aware of it, but your teeth are constantly on the move. Your teeth work together as a unit and so when one is removed, the others can shift and tilt in ways that they would not have done if there was no gap. This can sometimes lead to a misalignment of the top and bottom teeth and further oral problems; it can also make it harder to keep teeth clean.
You may find that your texture and taste preferences change and this can lead to a decreased appetite. As you avoid certain foods, your diet may no longer be balanced causing wider health issues. However, when you try to eat harder foods, the healthy side of your mouth has to do all the work which can cause damage to previously healthy teeth and gums.
The natural option
Implants look and function very much like natural teeth. There is no need to damage the surrounding teeth to fit them and they help to maintain the structure of the bone underneath. This stimulates natural bone renewal and maintains the outline of the face. Unlike dentures, they do not need glues to stick them in place, so they are a lot less hassle for you.
Avoiding pain and discomfort
Teeth are made of hard material for a reason! A lot of food is crunchy and sharp and can cause considerable damage to soft gums. With a gap in your teeth, you are constantly aware of the need to protect this vulnerable tissue and take care when you eat. If you forget, and a small piece of hard food hits the gum pad as you chew, the pain can be severe and you can damage the delicate tissue of the gum. Being constantly aware and worried about this can affect your enjoyment of your food and make you miss out on one of life’s great pleasures.
Dental implants do a whole lot more than simply filling a gap!