Americans love to have pearly whites, for cosmetic reasons and because of their love of smiling. No one can hold that against them. Also, it’s why Americans spent more than $1.4 billion last year alone on over-the-counter teeth whitening products, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. But what about situations where there isn’t a tooth to whiten? And what should you do if you begin wondering, “Do I need dental implants?”
What Are Dental Implants?
You may have been born without a tooth, or needed to have one removed because of injury, infection, or decay. Either way, a missing tooth can cause you to feel embarrassment, not to mention cause other issues within your mouth. That’s where dental implants come in. Dental implants are artificial material that your dentist or dental surgeon inserts into your jawbone. It acts as an anchor for the crown, an artificial tooth meant to look and act like the real thing. These days, crowns can match the color of your existing teeth so that no one notices.
“Do I need dental implants?” is a common question among those experiencing issues with their teeth. But dental implants aren’t your only choice. In some cases, people choose dentures or artificial teeth that can be removed. In other cases, a person’s bones aren’t healthy enough for the implant device to bond to the jawbone, ruling it out as an option. Overall, there are several reasons to choose dental implants, which:
- Are more comfortable and natural
- Improve chewing function
- Lead to a lower risk of cavities in nearby teeth
- Allow for better maintenance of bone at the origin site
- Decreases sensitivity in adjacent teeth
- You don’t need to take them out and clean them
- Have a higher success rate
- Are built to last
- Allow you to look and feel great again
Do I Need Dental Implants?
Dental implant surgery isn’t for everyone, but you may be a candidate for the procedure if you:
- Ever wonder, “Do I need dental implants?”
- Are missing teeth
- Have a bridge that needs replacing
- Experience bite problems or pain due to a missing tooth
- Want a permanent solution for missing or damaged teeth
- Have dentures that are slipping or keeping you from eating what you want
- Your jawbone is fully grown
- Have healthy bones and oral tissue
- Do not have any health issues or habits that will interfere with the procedure
- Want to improve your speech
Should I Be Worried About the Procedure?
If you’ve ever wondered about getting the procedure, you might also wonder if it’s safe. Dentists have been performing dental implant surgery for ages, but the first modern dental implant surgery began in the 1950s.
That may not seem that long ago, but the American Academy of Implant Dentistry states that around 3 million people in the United States have dental implants, a number that increases by 500,000 each year. It’s perfectly safe when a qualified dentist handles the procedure. It’s also the best option for maintaining the integrity of your jawbone.
There are times when dental implant surgery isn’t the safest or best option. Your dentist is the best judge, but generally, dentists will wait for a safer time or not operate on patients who:
- Are experiencing an acute illness
- Have a bone or soft tissue infection
- Have an uncontrollable metabolic disease
- Are heavy smokers
- Have habits such as teeth grinding or clenching
- Experience behavioral or psychiatric disorders
- Have HIV, AIDS, diabetes, or osteoporosis
- Are undergoing chemotherapy