The Ins and Outs of Dental Implants

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
March 21, 2018

Senior painting lighthouse in group activity

Dental implants: modern dentistry’s tool for restoring a beautiful smile when your natural teeth have been irreparably damaged or lost. This procedure is a wonderful alternative to other restoration options, such as bridgework, and the end result is teeth that look, feel, and function just like real teeth. What more could you ask for, right?

Want to know more about dental implants and why they’re so fantastic? We’ve compiled a few quick facts below to give you the ins and outs of implants and to help you become a more informed patient.

Are Dental Implants Right for You? Here’s How to Tell

Whether you’re missing one tooth or several teeth, dental implants might be the best way to get your smile back. But only your dentist will be able to determine if you’re the right candidate for dental implants. After thoroughly examining your mouth and your jaw, and taking some x-rays, your dentist will know if you’re ready to undergo an implant procedure.

Both young and old patients could get a dental implant. For example, an athlete in his 20s who lost a tooth during a competition could have an implant installed that will look and function just like a natural tooth. And a senior in her 60s who lost a tooth because of decay or gum disease could also have an implant installed in order to replace the tooth.

Here are a few scenarios in which dental implants might be the right choice:

  • You’re missing one or more teeth but your mouth is healthy and your jawbone is fully grown and healthy too
  • You either have enough bone to secure an implant or the dentist will be able to perform a bone graft
  • You’re generally healthy and you don’t have any health problems that would affect the ability of your bones to heal
  • You aren’t keen on the idea of wearing dentures, or you simply can’t wear dentures for any reason

Bonus tip: choose a dentist who has years of experience with implants. This will give you peace of mind when it comes to finding out if implants are right for you and whether or not you’re the right candidate for this treatment.

Getting an Implant: A Quick Breakdown of the Steps Involved

Okay, so what can you expect when you get a dental implant? Well, you need to be patient because this procedure could require multiple visits with your dentist, along with time to heal in between.

Your dentist will be able to tell you exactly what you should expect if you opt to get one or more implants, but here’s a general, brief breakdown of the usual steps involved:

  1. The implant is installed by drilling a hole into the jaw.
  2. An abutment is screwed into the implant.
  3. A permanent crown is added to achieve the look of a real tooth.

But, Wait, Will It Hurt?

It might be invasive and it might be a time-consuming process, but dental implant surgery typically isn’t all that painful. Dentists will usually use an anesthetic during the procedure. After it wears off, the discomfort that you could feel after the procedure might be similar to what you’d feel after you have a tooth extracted.

Your dentist will give you personalized advice on what pain medications to take to reduce your discomfort, and you might also choose to use an ice pack to reduce any swelling that you experience. Plus, you might be given antibiotics or oral rinses to help your mouth heal efficiently.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Dental Implants

After your implants are in your mouth, the good news is that they’re quite easy to take care of.

  • Practicing good oral hygiene, just as you would with natural teeth, will help keep the implants and your gums clean. A standard brushing and flossing routine, along with regular dental checkups, are recommended.
  • To help prevent damage to your dental implants, avoid chewing on hard foods, such as hard candies and ice. It’s also a good idea to seek treatment if you tend to grind your teeth, as the pressure isn’t good for your natural teeth or your implants.
  • To help keep your dental implants looking like new, experts recommend avoiding tobacco products that could cause stains. Just another reason to quit smoking!

Are Dental Implants Really Worth the Cost?

Are you thinking about getting dental implants yet? If so, we just want you to be aware of the fact that this advanced dental procedure might be pricey. But here’s the thing: dental implants are considered the next best thing to natural teeth! They’re stable and strong, and they fit, feel, function, and look like real teeth, so no one will know that you have implants in your mouth. That alone could make them worth the cost.

Also, unlike other treatment options for replacing lost or severely damaged teeth, implants could provide you with a long-term, durable solution. While dental implants might last the rest of your life, especially if they’re placed properly and you take great care of them, dental bridges may only last a few years before they might have to be replaced. This actually makes implants one of the more cost-effective options that could restore your smile.

Beyond that, here are a few of the other major benefits that come with getting dental implants:

  • You don’t need to deal with removing dentures and going through the process of cleaning them. If putting your teeth in a cup filled with a cleaning solution every night isn’t your idea of a good time, dental implants will help you avoid all of that because the implants will stay in your mouth permanently. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your dentures falling out or slipping out of place—now that would be embarrassing!  
  • If you leave spaces in your mouth where your teeth used to be, you might end up suffering with other problems in the long run. You may, for example, experience bone loss in your jawbone, and your adjacent teeth might shift out of alignment. Not good! Thankfully, dental implants could fill those gaps just like natural teeth would, helping to keep everything in place.
  • Dental implants allow you to eat and speak with greater ease than dentures. Because they function and fit like your natural teeth, you don’t need to adjust to implants like you would to wearing dentures, and you’ll be able to bite and chew naturally so you can enjoy all of the flavors of your favorite foods.  
  • When you get a tooth-supported dental bridge, your dentist will need to grind away some of the nearby teeth (in other words, damage otherwise healthy teeth). But with dental implants, none of that is necessary because the implant goes right into the space where your natural tooth used to be.
  • Here’s one benefit that you’re sure to really like: with dental implants, you won’t be at risk of developing cavities. But you’ll still need to see your dentist regularly to check that your mouth is healthy and to get cleanings to keep the rest of your teeth strong.

Bonus tip: If you really want to get dental implants but the cost is scaring you, consider enrolling in Spirit Dental insurance. With no waiting period dental insurance, you could gain access to a plan that will help cover the costs of major services when you need them.   

The Next Best Thing to Natural Teeth

As you get to know the benefits of dental implants, it becomes clear why this procedure is so popular. So if you have to replace one or more of your natural teeth, consider having a chat with your dentist to find out if you’re the right candidate for implants.


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