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Dental implants are thought of as the gold standard for tooth replacement. As of now, they represent our best technology for managing tooth loss. However, despite their growing popularity, many people still have some misconceptions about dental implants and how they work. We want to debunk some of these common myths.
Dental Implant Basics
First, let’s explain what, exactly, dental implants are. Dental implants treat the total loss of a tooth with an artificial tooth. But unlike bridges and dentures, implants don’t just sit on top of the gums, they are permanently affixed in a stable way that has several benefits (more on that later).
During the procedure, an implant that looks similar to a screw will be placed in the jawbone. After a healing period, an abutment and crown will be secured to the implant. You end up with an extremely sturdy replacement tooth that mimics a natural tooth.
Dental Implant Myths Debunked
Dental implants are an astounding advancement in dentistry. But, since they are relatively newcomers when it comes to dental procedures, there are some myths and misunderstandings out there when it comes to dental implants.
Dental Implant Placement is Painful
Implant placement is considered a significant dental procedure, but it is not as painful as you may think. We are experts at using local anesthesia to ensure that the entire treatment area is thoroughly numbed. After your procedure, there may be mild discomfort. However, many patients feel that the implant procedure is less uncomfortable than tooth extraction.
Dental Implants Require a Lengthy Recovery Period
While it is true that the dental implant timeline can be longer than other dental procedures, the idea that recovery takes months is a bit more complex. Recovery from placement of your implant is similar, if not shorter than the recovery time from tooth extraction, meaning a couple of days to about a week.
The reason for the pervasiveness of this idea is twofold. First, it may be several months before your abutment and crown are placed. The reason for this is that we want the implant to fuse with the jaw in order to make for a stable base for the crown, and this takes some time. Second, sometimes, there is not sufficient jaw structure to place an implant. In those instances, a bone graft may be necessary. This additional procedure will add time to your recovery and dental implant timeline.
Implants Look Fake
Dental implant technology is top of the line, and that includes the crowns that make up the visible part of the implant. These crowns are made from high-end, durable materials that look exactly like natural teeth. The color also matches, so they blend seamlessly into your natural smile.
Dental Implants Feel Fake
Your natural teeth include nerves and structures that allow a certain level of sensitivity. For that reason, no tooth replacement option will immediately feel exactly like a natural tooth. However, an implant is placed within the jaw, which closely mimics the structure of a natural tooth. With some time, you will become accustomed to the implant and barely notice that it is not your natural tooth.
Dentures or Bridges are Just as Good
Dentures and dental bridges have come a long way in recent years, but implants offer additional benefits over these treatments. Because these other options sit on top of the gums, they do not replace the root of the missing tooth. As a result, jaw degradation can often occur, jeopardizing neighboring teeth and even facial structure. Implants mimic a real tooth and stimulate the underlying jaw, preserving its shape and strength.
Implants Only Replace One Tooth
Implants can effectively replace one tooth, but they can do much more! It is possible to replace multiple teeth between two implants (similar to a traditional bridge) or even an entire arch of teeth with implants.
Dental Implants are Too Expensive
The reality is that dental implants are a newer, more advanced procedure and can be a significant investment. But they are an investment. Implants have the potential to last longer than other replacement options, as well as prevent jaw degradation and the need for future dental procedures. As such, they can potentially save you money in the long term. And don’t worry, financing options are available.
Could Implants be Right for You?
Dental implants can be life-changing for oral health and confidence. If you think implants might be right for you, reach out to our office today.