Deciding between dental implants and other tooth restoration options can be difficult when you consider cost, functionality, and aesthetics. While implants often win over the alternatives in both performance, durability, and looks, a higher price point may steer people in the other direction. When considering what is available to restore lost teeth, it helps to understand the benefits of implants to decide if this option is worthwhile.
How dental implants benefit oral health
One of the main benefits of getting implants is that they are a healthier alternative for the mouth.
Leaving the surrounding teeth whole
Unlike dental bridges or dentures, implant surgery does not require any damaging, irreversible work to the teeth surrounding the missing or soon-to-be-extracted tooth. Rather, implants securely fill the gap while keeping the adjacent teeth untouched.
Preventing jawbone deterioration
This option also prevents deteriorating jawbone or recessed gums. Any time a person has a missing tooth, the surrounding bone begins to dissolve and distribute into the body’s circulatory system because there is no tooth root to stimulate the jaw when biting down. This makes chewing more difficult for the individual and can visually affect the structure of the mouth.
Alternatively, dental implants are placed into the jawbone using a drill. After the bone and metal post fuse together and heal, the prosthetic substitutes the original tooth root, continuing to stimulate the jaw and support the gums.
Making dental hygiene easy
After getting dental implants, patients do not need to worry about adding any additional steps to normal maintenance routines. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day is enough to keep bacteria at bay, along with regular dentist appointments every six months.
With proper maintenance, patients can expect to benefit from the implants for 25 years or more. For many people, this alternative is permanent with occasional crown replacement. This compares to an average of 5 to 15 years of longevity for other options.
Why dental implants are an attractive option
When having a tooth replaced, most people are concerned about aesthetics in addition to function. Having a gap in the mouth is embarrassing, but restorative options that bring attention to the prosthetic are also undesirable. Dentures are notorious for a less-than-seamless appearance, especially if they start to loosen over time and begin to slip from the gums when eating or speaking.
Dental implants, on the other hand, are secured firmly into the mouth and are not prone to movement during normal activities. The crown used to cover the metal attachment is made from porcelain, which looks very similar to natural teeth. This material can be molded and designed to closely match the patient’s exact tooth shape and texture, then colored to blend with the surrounding teeth. Porcelain is both stain and chemical resistant, so foods and drinks should not cause discoloration.
Dental implants may cost more than other restorative options, but patients should consider that this treatment exceeds other alternatives, such as dental bridges or dentures, in terms of appearance, performance, and longevity.
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