Dental Implants: What You Need to Know

Tooth loss naturally occurs as a result of injury, disease, and the normal aging process. However, living with missing teeth can negatively affect the quality of your health and life. Missing teeth can change the way you look, affect your ability to eat and speak normally, lead to rapid bone degeneration, harm the health of neighboring teeth, and result in painful and uncomfortable bite patterns. 

Thankfully, modern dentistry offers a variety of treatment options designed to replace missing teeth while restoring and preserving a patient's smile and oral health. The most popular and widely recommended tooth-replacement treatment option is dental implants. 

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a permanent treatment option that uses a dental prosthetic to replace a patient's missing tooth. A traditional dental implant consists of three parts: 

  • Dental Implant - The implant is a screw-like biocompatible metal device that mimics a tooth's natural roots by being implanted directly in the jawbone. 
  • Implant Abutment - The abutment connects to the implant and supports the dental crown.
  • Dental Crown - The dental crown caps the abutment and is the only visible portion of a dental implant. It is designed to look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth. 

Dental Implant Treatment Options: How Are Dental Implants Used?

Dental implants are a versatile treatment option for replacing missing teeth because they can be used in different ways to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or all of a patient's teeth. 

  • One-for-One Tooth Replacement - A single dental implant can replace a single missing tooth. 
  • Implant-Supported Dental Bridge - Dental implants can be used to support a dental bridge in order to replace multiple, consecutive missing teeth. 
  • All-on-Four Implant-Supported Dentures - Dental implants can be used to replace all of a patient's teeth or an entire bottom or top row of missing teeth with implant-supported dentures. This option uses a number (usually four) of strategically placed dental implants to permanently secure a set of dentures. 
  • Snap-on Dentures (Overdentures) - This treatment option is similar, but the dentures are designed to snap on and off of the supporting dental implants more easily for dental professionals to make adjustments. 

The Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants are the most popular treatment option for replacing missing teeth because they have several benefits and advantages over alternative treatment options. They're highly effective and also offer important health benefits. 

Dental implants are the most natural-looking, feeling, and functioning tooth replacement option. They are designed to look, feel, and work just like your natural teeth which means, once your treatment is complete, you shouldn't even notice a dental implant in your mouth. 

Dental implants are also the only tooth-replacement treatment option that helps to preserve the health of the jawbone. When a natural tooth is lost, the jawbone no longer receives stimulation in the location where the natural tooth's roots used to put pressure on the bone. As a result, the bone begins to degenerate below the tooth gap, resulting in a changed appearance and the weakening of nearby dental structures and teeth. Since dental implants are inserted directly into the jawbone, they deliver much-needed stimulation to the jawbone. This triggers bone generation and maintains a healthy, strong jawbone. 

Are There Any Drawbacks or Risks Associated With Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the most beneficial of the tooth-replacement treatment options available to patients. They do, however, have some drawbacks that are important for patients to consider before deciding on a treatment plan. 

  • Treatment Length and Complexity - The dental implant treatment process can be lengthy and complex. Including multiple steps, procedures, and healing time in between, the dental implantation treatment process can often require six months to a year to complete. 
  • Cost - Due to the necessary steps and complexity of the treatment, for the most part, dental implants cost more than other treatment options. 
  • Possible Complications - Since the dental implantation process requires oral surgery, it does have some potential complications associated with all oral surgical procedures. 

Before helping you decide which tooth-replacement treatment option is right for you, our dentist will perform a thorough examination and health evaluation to ensure you are a good candidate for dental implants. We also take extreme care to reduce the risk of potential complications while helping to ensure each of our patients has a swift and speedy recovery. 

Dental Implants and Tooth Replacement With Our Dentist in Charleston

If you're missing one or more teeth and you've been searching for a "dentist near me" with extensive experience in tooth replacement treatment and dental implants, then look no further than CHS Dental's dentist in Mt. Pleasant. Our dentist and dental care team are highly experienced in the dental implantation process. We work with each patient on an individual basis to help them determine the dental restoration treatment plan that is best for them, and we welcome you to contact our office to request a tooth replacement and smile restoration consultation today. 

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