We all know the old comedy cliche about dentures. A well-meaning grandma or grandpa takes their dentures out for their overnight soak, and by morning the dentures are gone. Not all is lost, however, as the dentures are sure to turn up soon, perhaps with the family dog spotting a bright new smile. A quick internet search will tell you this situation isn’t cut out of whole cloth – some mischievous dogs really do run off with their owners’ dentures.
Comedy writers and dogs may soon need to find some new source material. Dental implants are a growing alternative to dentures – .07% of Americans had implants in 2000, and by 2016 that number was up to 5.7%. And the American Academy of Implant Dentistry estimates that 500,000 people are having implants placed every year. This shift is happening because implants are simply a better method of replacing missing teeth. Use this blog to learn more about why dental implants excel in both form and function.
Ready to see if implants could transform your smile? If so, come see the team at Mark Kramer, DDS in Tustin, California. Our team is proud of its 99% success rate in their implant and restoration procedures, with a lifetime guarantee of effectiveness.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are made up of three pieces. The implant is a post-like structure that is placed into the jawbone. This post is made of biocompatible materials, which means the body doesn’t recognize it as a foreign object. After the implant is placed, the jawbone heals and grows around it, a process called osseointegration. After the implant is anchored in the jaw, an abutment is placed on top of it to serve as a connection between the implant and the crown that will serve as the external part of the new “tooth.”
Osseointegration plays a key role in why implants are so popular; just like a real tooth, an implant becomes a part of your jaw’s construction. Although this may seem simple, teeth play a large role in providing structure and protecting your overall oral health. Other areas in which implants positively impact form include:
- Protecting and preserving natural tooth structures without damaging adjacent teeth
- Retaining surrounding teeth
- Providing stability for tissue in open areas
- Reducing loss of bone mass, which can prevent facial sagging and premature aging
- Allowing easier access between teeth to improve hygiene
Durability is also a major advantage, as well-maintained implants will last for years or even a lifetime.
Function harks back to the dog-stealing-dentures cliché. Implants don’t need to be lined with adhesive every morning. Taking care of an implant is as simple as regular brushing and flossing. Other functional advantages of implants include:
- Improved appearance
- Improved speech
- Easier eating
- Better comfort
- Higher self-esteem
Implants also offer one big advantage over natural teeth: no cavities. As mentioned above, they need regular care, but you’ll never have to worry about an implant developing a cavity.
Who is a good candidate?
If the form and function of implants have you convinced, you may be curious about who can get them. In general, implants might be right for you if you:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Have a jawbone that's reached full growth
- Have enough bone to secure the implants or can have a bone graft
- Have healthy oral tissues
- Lack health conditions that will affect bone healing
- Are unable or unwilling to wear dentures
- Want to improve your speech
- Are willing to commit several months to the process
A comprehensive dental exam and review of your medical history can determine your eligibility.
To learn more about implants and if you would make a good candidate, book an appointment online or over the phone with Mark Kramer, DDS today.