Dentures, partials, and fixed dental bridges are time-tested procedures to replace missing teeth. Most people are very satisfied with the esthetic and functional results of each of these options. However, in recent years, many people have begun relying on dental implants as the solution to their missing teeth. One of the first questions asked about implants is, "Will my implant feel like my natural teeth?"
Ten Dental Implant Myths and Facts
Although their popularity continues to grow significantly and millions of people have their lives changed by them, there is still considerable confusion about dental implants. Unfortunately, myths often obscure the facts and prevent people from considering this proven and successful technique. Here are a few dental implant myths and facts:
1. Myth: Dental implant surgery hurts.
Fact: You are anesthetized and possibly sedated for the surgical procedure. Modern dentistry has seen technological advancements in implant surgical procedures and pharmacological improvements in local dental anesthetics and sedation dentistry. These changes include a safe, minimally invasive, and comfortable procedure requiring minimal recovery time and postoperative pain relievers.
2. Myth: Dental implants are difficult to maintain.
Fact: After your implant heals, maintenance is the same as your natural teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and checkups with your dentist are all you need. You do not remove an implant to clean it like a partial or complete denture. Nor do you need special devices like floss threaders to clean it like a fixed bridge.
3. Myth: You don’t need to brush or floss dental implants.
Fact: Brushing and flossing are just as essential to maintaining dental implants as your natural teeth. It would be a mistake to get dental implants and not make oral hygiene a priority. The fact is that, if anything, brushing and flossing are more important with dental implants. Inflammation of dental implants, known as peri-implantitis, can prevent successful treatment. Peri-implantitis, similar to periodontal disease, begins when dental plaque accumulates and destroys the attachment of the gum and bone to the implant.
4. Myth: Dental implants do not last a long time.
Fact: Dental implants are placed as permanent dental prostheses. Because implants are submerged in your jawbone, they can last your lifetime without removal. With proper maintenance and avoidance of detrimental habits such as chewing ice, implants can have a success rate of about 98%.
5. Myth: Everyone will know that I have a dental implant.
Fact: Dental implants look like natural teeth. No one will know that you have a dental implant unless you tell them. Since implants replace your natural tooth’s root, your dentist can contour the implant’s crown to mirror your natural teeth. Dental implants offer superior esthetic results to other solutions for replacing missing teeth.
6. Myth: You must avoid some foods with dental implants.
Fact: There are no dietary restrictions if you have dental implants. After your implants heal and completely fuse with the surrounding bone, you can eat the same foods that you did with your natural teeth. You should exercise the same caution in chewing hard and sticky foods that you do with natural teeth.
7. Myth: Dental implants are not worth the cost.
Fact: Dental implants are more expensive initially but a better long-term investment. Although you pay more for implants that support crowns, bridges, or dentures, there are other factors to consider. First, most people consider the esthetic and functional benefits worth the added cost. Secondly, implants provide a more permanent solution. Removable dentures and fixed dental bridges will likely require remaking throughout your life. While the crowns and bridges supported by implants may wear out eventually, the implant can be permanent.
8. Myth: Dental implants do not make you look younger.
Fact: Dental implants help preserve bone in your jaws that helps you look younger. Teeth and the bone surrounding them help support the muscles in your face. When you lose teeth, you also lose the supporting bone. The result is the sagging of facial muscles and premature wrinkles. Dental implants are the only replacement option that prevents this bone loss. With implants, your lips, cheeks, and face appear healthier and tighter–you look younger!
9. Myth: Dental implants cannot affect your life.
Fact: Dental implants have been shown to improve the quality of life. Losing teeth can have a negative psychological effect on some people. One of the most profound benefits of dental implants is mitigating this unfortunate disturbance in one’s life. In addition to improving your appearance and function, studies show that implants can also enhance your self-esteem and social life for overall better quality of life.
10. Myth: Dental implants do not feel real.
Fact: After dental implants fuse with the bone, they feel like your natural teeth. Most dental implants are made of titanium or zirconia, which can fuse with the bone. Once this fusion, known as osseointegration, is complete, the implant is secure and does not move. The implant cannot feel anything, so any sensation you have comes from the surrounding gums. Just like you are unaware of each tooth root in your mouth, you will not be aware of the implant. Dental implants mimic the look and function of natural teeth better than any other tooth replacement option.
Who Can Benefit From Dental Implants?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth loss is still prevalent despite the dramatic progress of modern dentistry. The CDC reports that one-fourth of adults aged 65 or older have eight or fewer teeth.
Other surveys reveal that 120 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and 36 million are missing all teeth. Surprisingly, this professional dental organization predicts that these numbers will continue to grow in the next twenty years.
The American Dental Association reports that 3 million people in the United States have dental implants. Although this number continues to grow, millions could benefit from implants. Adults of all ages who might want to consider dental implants include:
- Those who were born with one or more missing teeth.
- Those who had a tooth avulsed (knocked out) during an accident.
- Those who lost one or more teeth because of severe tooth decay.
- Those who lost teeth due to periodontal disease.
- Those undergoing full-mouth rehabilitation.
- Those experiencing problems with traditional complete dentures.
Schedule an Appointment
In one day, Palmetto Dental Arts can restore your smile, confidence, and dental health with dental implants. If you are missing one, several, or all of your natural teeth, contact us online or call us to learn more about the many benefits of replacing missing teeth with implants.