For children, the loss of a tooth means a visit from the tooth fairy, a possible cash reward or prize and the promise of a new adult tooth coming in behind that lost baby tooth. But for adults, the loss of a tooth due to an accident, gum disease, decay or even a failed root canal is not much fun at all. And there’s no reward for tooth loss as an adult. Instead, adults with tooth loss find themselves thinking about overall dental health, insurance coverage and lifestyle impact when making decisions related to tooth replacement.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, one in four adults lose all of their permanent teeth by age 74. In the past, dentures and fixed bridgework were common solutions for missing teeth, but dental implants have become a popular alternative due to their more natural look. A dental implant is a titanium screw that is anchored in the jaw bone and topped with a replacement tooth after the screw has fused with the bone.
Dental implants look and function like real teeth and do not cause of the issues associated with dentures or bridges. Dentures and bridges are not only uncomfortable, they can also impact eating, speaking and chewing and may even cause damage to neighboring teeth. Dentures and bridges can also be hard to clean and can cause users to be self-conscious.
Are you missing teeth? It is important to replace them as soon as possible. Once an adult tooth is lost, the jaw bone that supported that tooth disintegrates…and this disintegration is magnified if many teeth are missing. The deterioration can severely impact the structure of the face and may even impact facial joints and muscles. In addition, remaining teeth can shift, causing issues with chewing, bite alignment and more.
Dental implant procedures should always be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These dental specialists are experts in issues effecting the jaw, mouth and face. They can help you determine if implants are the right solution for you. And they utilize a combination of advanced technology and resources to ensure that your procedure is as painless as possible.
Some dental health providers use DentalVibe to eliminate discomfort from dental injections. And many dental specialists have processes in place to help you cope with dental anxiety, fear of needles, mouth pain concerns and other worries that you may have about the implant procedure.
Dental implants are safe, but it is imperative to remember that the implant process does take time and multiple steps are involved. There is a waiting and healing period between the screw implant and the tooth addition. Infections are possible in the implant area, and there is always a possibility that you will require additional dental work such as a bone graft or related sinus surgery. And most insurance plans don’t cover dental implant costs.
It’s important to maintain the teeth you have. Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and handle any more minor concerns as they come up. But if tooth loss is unavoidable, dental implants are a safe and reliable options for tooth replacement. In fact, dental implant surgery has a more than 90 percent success rate.
Don’t fear dental implants! Your dental health provider can talk you through the process and help you manage any dental anxiety or concerns about discomfort. And remember, caring for implants is easy…you treat them just like you would real teeth. Brush and floss daily and schedule regular visits to your dentist.
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