Did you know that the American College of Prosthodontics estimates that as many as 178 million Americans have a single missing tooth and 40 million are missing all their teeth? They attribute the main causes of tooth loss to dental decay, gum disease, and trauma. Regardless of how a tooth is lost, the important thing is to have it replaced as soon as possible to prevent future complications, such as an improper bite.
One common restoration method for missing teeth are dental implants. In fact, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry notes that as many as 3 million Americans currently have dental implants and another 500,000 Americans get dental implants each year. With so many people opting for dental implants, you may be wondering what is so great about them. While there are many reasons to get dental implants, here are the top five reasons to consider dental implants:
Similar to Natural Teeth
Dental implants are the closest you can get to natural teeth besides having natural teeth themselves. This is because their structure mirrors the anatomy of a natural tooth and they are designed to replicate the same functions. This means dental implants are capable of restoring normal speaking and eating functions. In fact, many people report that they can each just about anything they could with their natural teeth. Besides restoring function, the look of dental implants is highly aesthetic and they are indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Act as Artificial Tooth Roots
The reason why dental implants are so similar to natural teeth is because they act as artificial tooth roots. This means that they are placed in the jawbone, which allows them to fuse with the surrounding bone. Not only does this make them extremely strong, but it preserves bone mass by stimulating the jawbone just as natural tooth roots would.
Can Restore Any Tooth
Whether you’ve lost an incisor or molar, dental implants can be used to restore that missing tooth. This is because dental implants come in different sizes that allow them to be used to restore different teeth. For most cases, the standard sized dental implant will be used. However if extra support is needed, wide dental implants that are slightly larger in circumference will be placed. On the other hand, if an implant must be placed in an area of lower bone mass or in a tight space, then a mini dental implant that is slightly smaller in circumference will be placed.
Options for Placement
There are two different types of dental implants that offer a couple of options for the placement of dental implants. The most commonly used type of dental implant are endosteal implants. This type of implant is placed into the jawbone and provides the most strength. The second type of dental implant are subperiosteal implants, which are placed on top of the jawbone rather than into it. Because subperiosteal implants do not fuse with the surrounding bone like endosteal implants, they are weaker and are not often used.
Less Dental Appointments
Although dental implants require a minor oral surgery for placement, they can usually be placed in as little as 1-2 dental appointments. In fact, many cases of dental implants only require a single appointment to place both the implant and the dental prosthesis. These are called same day implants or immediate load implants. Other cases may use one appointment to place the implant, connector and temporary restoration, and then schedule a second appointment to place the permanent restoration. During your implant consultation, you can discuss which option is best for you. Additionally, once dental implants are placed, they are extremely long lasting and require less dental appointments than other restoration methods. On average, dental implants can last approximately 10-15 years and have even been known to last up to 20 years.
Overall, dental implants closely resemble natural teeth by acting as artificial tooth roots in order to restore any tooth in the mouth. They can also be placed using different methods and in only 1-2 dental appointments. Although there are many other reasons to get dental implants, these are the top five reasons why dental implants are such a popular choice for restoring missing teeth. Therefore, if you are missing one or more teeth, you should schedule a consultation with an implant dentist to discuss your options.
Dr. Stephen Malone received his Doctorate of Dental Medicine Degree from the University of Louisville in 1994 and has practiced dentistry in Knoxville for over 20 years. He believes in the value of continuing dental education and has pursued hands-on and mentored advanced dental education every year since earning his doctorate. He participates in multiple dental study clubs and professional organizations, where he has taken a leadership role.