It’s almost hard to believe, but not too long ago, replacing missing teeth either meant getting a dental bridge or dentures — and the choices were partial or full. Fortunately, those days are long gone.
Not only have the treatment options multiplied, but also new materials are being used to make dental appliances that so closely mimic the natural look and feel of natural teeth that they’re hard to differentiate from the real thing.
And that’s a very good thing for the 178 million Americans who are missing at least one tooth and the estimated 40 million Americans who don’t have any teeth at all.
In this blog, our own Dr. Meriem Boukadoum here at 54th Street Dental explains the game-changing teeth replacement treatment option that’s becoming the gold standard: dental implants.
At this point you may be thinking, an option that doesn’t mean dealing with awkward, removable dentures and messy adhesives? Yes, please! Your second thought may be, am I a good candidate for it?
Read on to learn more about dental implants and whether they may be right for you.
Dental implants explained
Let’s begin this discussion by first defining what dental implants are in the first place and what’s involved in the treatment process.
For many patients, what’s particularly appealing about dental implants is that they’re inspired by nature — more specifically, the fact that healthy teeth work so effectively simply because they are anchored in your jawbone. The premise behind dental implants is that in order to recreate functioning teeth, it all begins with creating an artificial tooth root for every missing tooth.
From start to finish, the process involves a time commitment of 6-12 months.
Installing your new tooth roots
First, you come in for an initial consultation where your dental provider performs a comprehensive oral exam and takes a series of X-rays to evaluate your tooth roots and jawbone.
This is how your provider determines whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants. If there are no signs of infection and you have healthy gums and sufficient quality bone density in your jawbone to support the implants, you are good to go.
After administering a local anesthetic, your dentist performs an in-office surgical procedure, placing a titanium post or screw in the tooth socket of every missing tooth. This post will ultimately become the new replacement tooth’s root.
Afterwards you go home with post-op recovery instructions, and then nature takes over. Over the next three to four months, the implants heal in place and fuse to your jawbone in a process called osseointegration.
Installing your new teeth
Once the osseointegration process is completed, you’ll return to the office for your next appointment, where your provider takes impressions of your teeth and mouth to send to a dental laboratory, which fabricates the specific restorations to complete your procedure — crowns, dental bridges, or snap-on dentures.
Once the restorations come back from the lab, you’ll come in for your final appointment, where your dental provider permanently installs your restoration and you leave the office with the ultimate do-over — new teeth that function like your natural teeth once did.
Comfortable, natural looking, and durable
Since your dental implant is anchored in your jaw, the comfort and convenience of this solution are unbeatable. But that’s not all.
Another benefit of dental implants are their natural esthetics and sheer durability. With an attention to at-home care like brushing and flossing, and making routine appointments for professional cleanings, dental implants can last a lifetime.
No gooey adhesives or concerns about slipping
For many patients who don’t want to — or can’t — wear dentures, dental implants represent a viable option that dispenses with extra maintenance concerns like overnight soaking and cleaning solutions as well as messy adhesives, not to mention worrying about slipping and sliding issues.
On top of that,you can’t underestimate the value of regaining your self-confidence and being able to eat all your favorite foods again.
If you have missing teeth and want to know if dental implants are right for you, contact 54th Street Dental to schedule a consultation. To reach us, use the online booking tool or call our office in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City at 212-333-3200.