Are you one of the millions of Americans living with missing teeth? It’s more common than you might think. According to the CDC, by the age of 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 permanent teeth.
OK, that includes wisdom teeth. Still, cavities and gum disease are robbing American adults of their teeth left, right, and center. If that describes you, then dental implants are the way to go.
But what are the different types of dental implants? How can you find out if you’re a good candidate for them? Let’s take a deep dive into the world of dental implants to find the answers.
What Are Dental Implants?
When many people think of dental implants, they focus on the artificial tooth that fills the gap left by your natural tooth. But the dental implant is actually the replacement root of the tooth.
Implants are usually made of titanium and are embedded into the jawbone, below the gumline. As it heals after the procedure, the bone fuses to the implant and creates a very strong foundation. An abutment (small post) can then be attached to the implant.
Finally, a crown is attached to the abutment. This is an artificial tooth, usually made of porcelain or another lifelike material. It is very strong and looks like a real tooth.
To have a dental implant, you must have sufficient bone to attach it to. If a scan reveals that the bone is severely eroded, you may need to have a bone graft before implant surgery.
Not Just Cosmetic Dentistry
If you’re under the impression that dental implants are just about looks, think again. While a cosmetic dentist may be qualified to fit dental implants, they are actually an advanced form of orthodontics.
Orthodontics is the field of dentistry that treats bite issues. If you have missing teeth, you will not have a great bite. This will impact your ability to eat a wide range of foods and can have a detrimental effect on your overall health.
You can also experience better speech. They are also easier to clean than other dental devices like bridges and don’t cause damage to other teeth. With good care, they can last a lifetime.
Cosmetic dentists focus mainly on improving your appearance. Dental implants do give you a more symmetrical look and can improve your self-esteem. But the primary goal of dental implants is to improve your oral and general health.
Have a look at how to find the right dental surgeon for your dental implant treatment.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Implants?
There are four types of dental implants that your dentist or orthodontist may talk to you about. They can be used to replace single teeth and in some cases all of your teeth.
Endosteal implants are the most common type. The procedure is described above and is suitable for most patients although some may need a bone graft. It produces a very strong foundation that can last for decades.
Occasionally, you can have the abutment and crown fitted on the same day. However, you will usually need to allow a few weeks for the implant to heal and fuse with the bone.
Subperiosteal implants are suitable for patients who don’t have enough jawbone to place an implant. Bone grafts are possible, but some may prefer not to go through this procedure.
The subperiosteal implant is placed under the gum but on top of the jawbone. The gum heals around the implant and abutments are attached to it. The false teeth are then attached to the abutments.
Zygomatic implants are a rarely used alternative to subperiosteal implants. They are also used when patients do not have sufficient jawbone to successfully place an implant.
The zygomatic bones are more commonly known as the cheekbones. This procedure uses extra-long implants that are placed in the zygomatic bones. They provide greater stability and are suitable for all-on-four implants on the upper arch.
If you’ve suffered complete tooth loss on the upper arch, lower arch, or both arches, all-on-four implants may be the perfect solution.
They use four dental implants to anchor a full set of permanent dentures. Sometimes, more than four implants are needed – it depends on the patient. This allows you to go from having no teeth to a full set of teeth.
All-on-four implants can revolutionize your life. They are very strong and allow you to eat all the foods you couldn’t with dentures. The dentures are permanent so there’s no need to remove them to clean them.
The Cost of Dental Implants
The average cost of dental implants is between $2,000 to $6,000 per tooth. All-on-four implants will cost substantially more as they require a minimum of 4 implants per arch.
Talk to your insurer about what coverage they provide for dental implants. If your insurance won’t cover the cost, most dentists are able to arrange financing or payment plans.
Ready to Get Dental Implants?
If tooth loss is getting you down, it’s time to find out if you’re a good candidate for dental implants. With four types of dental implants on offer, there is a good option for most people.
After treatment, you’ll have a more comfortable bite. You’ll also find it easier to eat and you’ll be able to speak more clearly. Plus, your self-esteem will go through the roof once you’ve seen your dazzling new smile.
For more helpful hints and tips, head over to our Health & Beauty section today!