A dental implant is a high-tech, engineered tooth replacement that mimics the structure and look of a whole tooth. A titanium root is inserted into the jawbone and can be used to support a bridge, crown, or denture. A good dental implant should feel, look, and act as a real tooth, and—if properly cared for and maintained—it can last a lifetime.
However, before you start asking Google, “Where can I get dental implants in Hot Springs?”, let’s dive a little deeper into who is eligible for dental implants, the types of dental implants that are available, and the benefits that dental implants provide.
Who Is Eligible for Dental Implants?
Most patients who are interested in dental implants are good candidates for them. In the past, people with insufficient bone in their jaw or with certain health conditions were not considered eligible for implants, but advances in bone reconstruction and diagnostics have opened the procedure to almost everyone.
Types of Dental Implants
Single implants are the most common dental implant; they are used in the case of one or a few (non-consecutive) missing teeth.
Overdenture implants are a permanent denture alternative for those who don’t like the look or feel of dentures. Dental implants are placed in the jaw and left to adhere to the jawbone for around two months, after which custom-built dentures are attached to them for a secure, non-slip fit. This is a procedure performed for those with many or most of their teeth missing.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Natural Look and Comfortable Fit
One of the benefits of dental implants (compared to bridges) is that implants are designed to function, look, and feel like your natural teeth. You’ll have the confidence to eat, smile, and socialize without worrying about flashing your bridge or someone noticing your teeth instead of what you’re talking about. Implants give dental patients the freedom to participate in their day-to-day activities without worrying about their dentures falling out or how their smile looks.
One of the biggest functional benefits our patients experience is the restoration of full chewing power. With good dental implants, you’ll never notice the difference between your natural teeth and the implant tooth. You’ll be able to eat normally and brush and floss just as you would with natural teeth.
While a bridge lasts for an average of ten years, dental implants can last far longer—especially with the appropriate care regimen. Today’s implants are made with hyper-durable titanium and are integrated directly into the jawbone. They are designed to be biocompatible, which means they are non-toxic and designed to reduce the possibility of your body rejecting them.
To properly care for your single dental implants, follow these simple suggestions from our dental surgeons:
- Brush with a soft-bristle toothbrush at least twice a day
- Use a non-abrasive toothpaste
- Brush around and under the implant crown
- Use a nylon-coated interdental brush for areas that are difficult to reach
- Floss daily with unwaxed or implant-specific floss
- Use an oral irrigator recommended by your oral surgeon
To care for overdentures:
- Remove daily and soak in a specially formulated cleaner for the recommended time
- Inspect O-rings, locator caps, and clips; alert your dentist if any are worn or missing
- Gently brush underneath your denture with a denture brush
- Rinse overdenture thoroughly with water before placing back in your mouth
- Replace the O-rings and locator caps once a year
Functional and Fast Tooth Replacement
Implants are meant to work as fully-functional replacements for actual teeth. In general, they fill the gaps left behind by broken, missing, or decayed teeth in order to help prevent shifting and misalignment, and to provide support for other dental work (like bridges and crowns). If your bridge, dentures, or partial dentures are uncomfortable, dental implants may provide a solution. Once they have been placed, dental implants should feel exactly like your normal teeth. And, because they offer replacement teeth in a day, dental implants are a popular choice for those who want the gaps in their teeth filled as quickly as possible.
Bone Loss Prevention
When you lose a tooth, the area of the jawbone left exposed in the empty space deteriorates. This is due to a lack of stimulation that tells the bone it needs to function properly. In one year, your jawbone can lose 25% of its volume or more, and that bone loss continues as the years go on.
Using dentures can further accelerate loss of bone volume because they tend to become loose and rub against the bony ridge of the jawbone, gradually wearing it away. Conversely, because an implant replaces the root along with the tooth, it restores the ability to chew normally, providing the stimulation required for natural bone growth.
Dental implants also preserve your natural tooth tissue by circumventing the need to cut or file down the teeth adjacent to your problem area—a common requirement for bridgework.
A missing tooth leaves a gap that can cause adjacent teeth to drift or tilt towards it. This can misalign your bite, affect your ability to chew, and cause unsightly crookedness or overlapping—an especially painful side effect if you’ve ever had expensive orthodontic work done.
It is ideal to replace missing teeth with a bridge or dental implant as early as possible, so as to avoid the potential complications of shifting teeth. If left for too long, they can make it even harder to replace the missing tooth later on. You may have to correct the misalignment with tooth extraction, braces, or a retainer before you’re able to add a bridge or a dental implant (which can easily double or triple your expenses). Additionally, a poor bite can lead to chewing difficulty, accidental biting of the cheeks and tongue, and TMJ issues that result in headaches and jaw pain.
Reduced Chances of Infection and Gum Disease
The gap left by a missing tooth can trap food and plaque, encouraging the growth of bacteria. This can lead to halitosis (bad breath), decay, infection, and gum disease, which can spread to the adjacent teeth and cause cavities, tooth pain, and even abscess.
A dental implant fills that gap and prevents the pooling of food and beverages that can lead to such decay. However, you must still brush and floss regularly to prevent cavities and gum disease altogether.
Premature Aging Prevention
As mentioned above, missing teeth lead to the loss of jawbone volume. However, as the jawbone shrinks, the jawline can also sag and recede, leading to facial sagging. The lower third of the face collapses and gradually begins to shorten the gap between your nose and chin.
Skin and muscles follow the bone, causing excess wrinkling around your mouth. It also has a thinning effect on the lips, which happens naturally as we age. The combination can make you seem much older than you are. Dental implants help to prevent this bone loss and keep your jawline looking younger, longer.
Where Can I Get Dental Implants in Hot Springs?
If you have any questions about dental implants or you have recently lost a tooth, contact Arkansas Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons at 501-510-1176 today. We’re happy to schedule a consultation with one of our talented and experienced dental surgeons and get you started on your journey toward a healthier smile!