Whenever you’ve been to the dentist, you’ve likely seen models or literature regarding braces, crowns or dentures—but what about dental implants? Many people aren’t all that familiar with dental implants ironically; even though they are a much better solution than bridges and crowns.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a dental prosthetic that actually replaces the root of a failed tooth. Just like a tooth root, dental implants are anchored into the jawbone and are not visible once implanted. They are used to secure crowns (the visible part of a tooth) that will fully replace one or more teeth. The implants are made of titanium, which is not only lightweight and strong, but most importantly—biocompatible, which means the body will not reject it.
Dental implants are favored by many Houston dentists due to having the highest success rates of any implanted surgical product in existence. Dental implants, while lesser known by patients than other dental products, offer several significant advantages over other cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Did You Know?
Dental implants in concept are proven to be thousands of years old, with bamboo pegs found in China that date to 4,000 years ago. The bamboo pegs were hammered into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. Sounds painful, but technology of modern times usually has primitive beginnings.
Modern dental implants; however, are made out of titanium due to their propensity for bonding with bone. In 1952, this characteristic of titanium was accidentally discovered by an orthopedic surgeon studying bone healing and treatments on injured rabbits. By 1965, this surgeon— who by this time had been experimenting with titanium implants for years; placed the first dental implant into a human patient with resounding success.
It’s very likely that you didn’t know that bit of history about dental implants, but there are quite a few more facts about dental implants that most people don’t realize either:
- They Are the Best Way to Replace Missing or Failing Teeth – Most dentists concur that the ability to replace natural teeth with dental implants is a benchmark in history of dentistry. Dental implants are the best way to replace damaged teeth without disturbing the integrity of healthy ones. Dental implants make minimizing collateral damage very easy as they are a 1:1 replacement— taking up only the same space the original tooth did, leaving no gaps or crowding surrounding teeth.
- The Procedure Is Relatively Painless – While having a titanium screw bolted into your jawbone sounds quite painful and arcane; the procedure is actually quite routine and causes very little pain. The rate of success is very high, post-op pain is minimal, and recovery allows for little to no downtime. Of course, each case depends on the complexity of the situation and how many implants are needed, but most patients can return right back to work with just a bit of over the counter pain medication.
- It Can Improve Physical and Emotional Health – For patients with failing teeth, dentures or severely ground down teeth, dental implants can turn their world upside down in a good way. With dentures there is the concern about daily routine, being able to eat the foods you want, and being concerned with dentures moving or falling out in social settings. The emotional stigma alone can lead to psychosomatic physical ailments as well. Using dental implants allows you the freedom to eat, play sports, and interact in social circles as you would normally—without the fear of embarrassment. Because implants are permanently secured to the jawbone you will never have that problem. The crowns that are attached look indistinguishable from natural teeth, so the only way anyone would know you have implants is if you tell them.
- They Are Durable – One of the bright spots in needing dental implants, is that you will never have to worry about cavities again. Now, this does not mean you should neglect oral hygiene as gum disease can be a pre-cursor to heart disease. Just like with real teeth, floss and brush regularly and use mouthwash. Not only does this help maintain good oral health, but you don’t win any friends with bad breath. Since implants are made out of titanium—the same metal used on space shuttles, they are far stronger and have over 50x the longevity of dentures.
- Implants Fortify Your Jaw – Once you replace your missing teeth with strong titanium dental implants, it makes your jawbone stronger as well. The reason for this is a medical process known as osseointegration, which is a technical way of saying, the implant fuses with your jawbone. This essentially means the implant actually becomes part of your body and affects your facial structure helping maintain your current jawline and alignment.
- Implants Protect Healthy Teeth – Placing a tooth-supported bridge involves grinding away the teeth on either or both sides of the missing tooth—damaging the supporting teeth to replace a missing one. Those teeth are then used to attach and support the bridge, putting strain on them which can cause them to shift over time. Dental implants are supported by the jaw and do not disturb healthy teeth, in fact they protect them from shifting.
Still Not Convinced On Dental Implants?
Dr. Velasco commonly hears patients with bridges and traditional crowns lament on how they wish they knew more about dental implants when they had bridges or dentures done. Dental implants are just a better solution all around over dentures and bridges, but there is good news if you already have these obsolete prosthetics. Dental implants can still be implanted and replace your dentures or bridge; we can upgrade your smile in a single day!
Whether it’s a full mouth reconstruction, single tooth replacement or you need a bridge replaced—just contact our office and schedule your consultation with Dr. Velasco. Uptown Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry is an innovative leader in the industry, and we specialize in changing lives one smile at a time. With one quick consultation we can have you on your way to a better, more refined smile you can be proud of that will last a lifetime!