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Implant Thoughts: Restoring Smiles

It is estimated that more than 50% percent of Americans age 65 and over have multiple teeth missing.  In past years, prosthodontics, a branch of dentistry that addresses the artificial replacement of lost teeth, fitted many seniors with dentures.

Undeniably, dentures remain a major player in tooth replacement, but a newer (although not new) corrective measure on the dental block gaining popularity is dental implants.

Let’s look at some pros and cons pertaining to this type of restoration.  


  • Dental implants are anchored to the jawbone.  A screw or cylinder is implanted and acts like the root of a tooth. Titanium is usually the material used, although some individuals prefer zirconia (a.k.a., ceramic).  Artificial teeth (e.g., crowns) are affixed to the screw, so everything stays in place without the need for removal.
  • Implants have the look and feel of real teeth.  When multiple teeth are needed, the results tend to be remarkably natural.
  • People with cracked, missing, broken, or discolored teeth can acquire a Hollywood-type smile.
  • More than 90% of individuals with implants have few, if any, complications.
  • Embarrassment due to an unattractive mouth ceases, while confidence (and smiling) increases.
  • Implants function like regular teeth, so speaking, chewing, and eating are not only easy but also pleasurable.

Okay, clearly there are positives, but some cons?

  • It takes a skilled dental team to evaluate and carry out implant work (i.e., dentist with advanced training, oral surgeon, periodontist), so do not expect overnight results.  In fact, the process can take at least a few months from start to finish.
  • Implants involve surgery.
  • If adequate bone density is lacking in the jaw, measures to rebuild bone (drugs, grafting) are commonly carried out before the primary restorative piece can begin.
  • Although implant success is quite impressive, complications like nerve injury, infection, rejection, allergic reaction, and post breakages are possible.
  • A mouth full of implants typically looks amazing, but the procedure tends to be considerably more costly than dentures.
  • Some people might not be appropriate implant candidates.  For example, smoking and certain medical conditions can compromise efficacy.

Dental implants are a wonderful way to restore an incredible smile, but they are not without drawbacks.  At the same time, brushing, flossing, and regular dental/hygienist visits remain extremely important oral hygiene To-Dos.

To learn more about this topic, go to www.dentalimplants.com.

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