For many people, a missing tooth is often an uncomfortable and embarrassing problem. Not having the best smile possible not only affects your self-confidence and emotional wellbeing, but it can also leave your gums and other teeth more vulnerable to bacteria and infection.
Before modern dentistry progressed to include dental implants, missing teeth were typically replaced by bridges and dentures. These did the job well enough, but were still prone to moving around in the mouth, which made eating, drinking, and speaking more difficult. Today, dental implants have changed the way we cope with tooth loss and have made it much easier to live with.
This isn’t to say, that there aren’t some drawbacks to consider along with the many benefits, though. If you’re trying to decide whether dental implants are right for you, consider the following information.
Pro: Like Your Real Teeth
The most comfortable and realistic option available today, dental implants both feel and look like your natural teeth. With them, you’ll be able to smile with confidence, enjoy your favorite beverages, and eat the foods you want. The way they’re installed ensures that there won’t be any slippage, so you won’t have to worry – as you would sometimes with dentures – about a potentially humiliating situation.
The reason dental implants mimic your real teeth so well is because of the surgical procedure involved. It requires local anesthesia (usually by injection) and a process that includes drilling down into the jawbone to anchor the implant below the gum line, thereby replacing the tooth root. If the idea of surgery, however safe and quick, worries you, you might want to talk it over with your dentist.
Dental implants don’t need to be restored or maintained as often as dentures or other replacement solutions. In turn, this can save you both time and discomfort over the years, which will give you greater peace of mind. The materials used in the implants (typically ceramic or titanium) are durable and bio-compatible, so the chances of either damage or an allergic reaction are minimized.
Con: Recovery Time
While they can last for years with proper care, the durability and ease of dental implants over time come with a more immediate physical cost. Apart from the surgery itself, recovery from the procedure can also take several months. Your mouth will be sore and you may require pain medication, along with a modified diet and a ban on smoking, during the healing period.
You can brush and floss your dental implants like regular teeth. They won’t feel much different, so you won’t have to worry about biting or chewing your food carefully. What’s more, they’ll give you back your smile, enabling you to take photos, talk with friends, and enjoy yourself socially without being self-conscious. They don’t have to be removed before sleeping at night either, which allows you to maintain your lifestyle at any hour.
The longevity and (eventual) ease of dental implants makes them a popular choice for patients who want to replace missing teeth. However, it’s also a more expensive option than other remedies. Dental care can be costly on its own, especially if you’re on a budget or don’t have insurance, so you’ll need to think about the impact implants will have on your funds in addition to your lifestyle. Luckily, many dentists accept CareCredit and offer installment plans for their services.
Deciding whether or not to get dental implants is an important decision in your oral health. There are plenty of pros and cons to consider before committing to the cost and recuperation time required.
Let Dr. Mullin’s help you determine if dental implants are right for you!