Could dental implants answer your chewing, smiling and denture problems?
So you’ve heard about implants. That’s not surprising. They’re hard to miss when you’re in the supermarket queue with a Kardashian on a magazine cover.
But today we’re not talking about those kinds of implants. We’re talking about dental implants.
Perhaps a friend has mentioned them, or a colleague at work. But how much do you really know about them?
You’ve probably heard that they’re expensive and that it takes a few trips to the dentist to complete the treatment. After all, having spent all that time and money on your smile makeover the last thing you want is your implants falling out.
But when is the right time to consider dental implants?
There are 6 signs that suggest it’s worth moving dental implants from your “Hmmm, maybe” list and onto your “Let’s get this done” list. Some are physical, while others are emotional. But if you answer “Yes” to them all, it’s time to discuss tooth replacement options with your dentist.
What are dental implants?
Implants are artificial teeth that screw into your jawbone. They consist of two parts.
- A titanium fitting that acts like a tooth root, anchoring the tooth securely.
- A tooth replacement that attaches to the fitting. A natural-looking ceramic crown replaces your lost tooth and matches the surrounding teeth.
This article on dental implants goes into more detail.
The 6 signs that it’s time to consider dental implants
OK, so they sound promising, don’t they? Artificial teeth that look and feel like natural teeth could be your solution. But how do you know when it’s the right time to consider implants?
Can you answer “Yes” to these 6 signs?
1. You’re frustrated with these everyday problems
Are you sick of not being able to do these daily activities?
- Enjoying the things everyone else can enjoy, such as:
- chewing steak
- biting into a crunchy apple
- savouring toasted muesli without getting crunchy bits caught under your denture.
- Sneezing without the fear of shooting a denture projectile in the middle of your meeting.
- Smiling freely for a photo and showing all your front teeth, rather than strategically tightening your lips so you don’t expose any white.
2. You want a long-lasting replacement for one or more of your teeth
Implants can last longer than dentures. They can also be more comfortable and are definitely more secure. Plus, you clean them the same way you do your natural teeth. If you want to see all the ways dentures stack up against implants, check out our article on dentures vs dental implants.
3. You have the finances to invest
Implants are more expensive than dentures and so you may not be able to afford them right now. But when you can, you need to be comfortable about prioritising your health and appearance. You can find out more in this guide to dental implant costs in Australia. We can also itemise a quote for you.
4. One or more of your teeth are missing or broken
Dental implants need to go where the original teeth once lived, and so you’ll need a suitable space. Sometimes removing a damaged tooth is part of the process. If that’s the case, we consider removing the old tooth as part of the treatment.
5. You’ve quit smoking
Smoking affects your health. We all know that.
But did you know it affects your oral health as well?
Smoking creates issues with bone and gum healing. The toxic chemicals and reduced blood flow leave you more prone to infection. And can you imagine going to all the effort and expense of implants only to lose them because of a bone infection?
6. You’re worried about jawbone loss or gum deterioration
Within the first 12 months of a tooth extraction, it’s estimated that you lose 50% of the width of the alveolar bone. (The jawbone section containing the tooth sockets.) After removing a tooth and its root, the surrounding bone contracts as it heals.
Depending on its position, this reduction in the jawbone can affect a number of things.
- Your appearance, due to changes in your jaw shape and density. For people who have lost most of their teeth, it can create a puckering look that makes them look older than they are.
- Nearby teeth, causing movement and potential issues with chewing.
- Your speech (and singing in the shower).
- How well your dentures fit. (The more bone you have, the better your dentures can grip and be secured.)
- The natural appearance of your gum line. Gum lines on contracted bone can sit higher than the surrounding teeth and show a noticeable gap.
Let’s plant the seed—now could be the time for a dental implant
This information is a starting point for when to consider dental implants. If you’ve answered “Yes” to those questions, now might be the right time. We talked a little bit about the financial investment of dental implants. Understanding how much your implant treatment might cost is the next step. Find out more about the cost of dental implants in Australia, and download the Keppel Dental cost guide.