A state-of-the-art form of tooth replacement, dental implants are perhaps the most sought after option due to their natural look and feel. A dental implant consists of a titanium post that is inserted directly into the jawbone in a way that makes it virtually identical to a natural tooth root. After the post is allowed to set, a artificial tooth, typically composed of porcelain, is attached to the root. The result is a a tooth that functions very similarly to the other natural teeth in the mouth.
Dental implant surgery is, as yet, not an independent form of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). For the most part, the procedure is completed by periodontists or oral surgeons although regular dentists can participate in training that prepares them to perform the surgery themselves.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants, along with being realistic in appearance, allow for healthy surrounding teeth to remain undisturbed. As opposed to choosing a bridge to replace missing teeth, dental implants are attached using a post in the jawbone which means they do not need to be bonded to the neighboring teeth. Additionally, most patients report that eating, brushing, and other activities are far simpler with dental implants than other tooth replacement options such as dentures. The titanium posts are incredibly durable and will last a lifetime but the tooth itself will typically need to be replaced every ten to fifteen years. Overall, dental implants are very effective with statistics showing that over 95% of implant patients experience successful, long-lasting results.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
As with any type of dental procedure, there are always cons that should be considered before making a final decision. For one, dental implants can be far more pricey than other options. Along with the actual cost of the implant, the procedure also requires numerous visits to the dentist which may make the cost of the surgery prohibitive for some especially since many insurance plans will not cover these expenses. Another item to consider is whether dental implants will be successful in the case of the patient. While the procedure is highly effective, there are some groups that experience lower success rates than others. Smokers along with individuals suffering from diabetes, for example, are more prone to issues following dental implant treatment. Very few patients report experiencing any serious side effects. However, in rare cases, the surgery may result in a perforated nerve or sinus cavity.