Marilyn Monroe once said, “A smile is the best makeup a girl could wear.”
But what if you don’t consider yourself as someone who has a great smile? What if you feel somewhat self-conscious about your teeth?
One study linked a person’s perception of dental aesthetics with his psychological well-being. This, in turn, can affect self-confidence. Another study showed that dissatisfaction with dental appearance affected one’s self-esteem.
So no, wanting to have a better smile isn’t about vanity at all. And if you’ve been considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, you should go for it. Of course, before you do, make sure you understand what you’re in for and what to expect from the procedure.
Dental implants are an alternative to dentures. They’re a good option for patients whose mouths cannot support dentures.
These include those who’ve had mouth cancer. They’re also perfect for folks who’ve had an accident, causing a tooth (or more of them) to get knocked out.
What makes implants interesting is the materials they’re made of. Remember that an implant needs to mimic a natural tooth root.
This is why the materials used for dental implants have to be compatible with a patient’s jaw. That means titanium and bone-like ceramic – materials that can fuse with the bone.
When someone says “implants”, people almost always think “surgery.” And it’s the right association to make. The only problem is people also associate the word “surgery” with “pain.”
Truth is dental implants are often less painful than a tooth extraction. Plus they offer many advantages.
For one thing, they don’t slip or shift. With dental implants, there are no potential embarrassing situations for you. You can’t say the same for removable dentures.
Dental implants are also easy to clean. You don’t need to take them out at night so you can put it in a soaking solution. Clean them as you would your natural teeth.
Another plus to think of is how implants protect the integrity of your mouth’s structure. Implants don’t need other teeth for support. And they also prevent the shifting of nearby teeth.
These make them the ideal cosmetic solution if you have missing teeth. You also don’t need to worry about chewing and speaking issues. Dental implants work almost as good as your natural teeth.
Worldwide, there are many brands and manufacturers of dental implants. And it’s good news for dentists and patients. With so many to choose from, a dentist can pick the best ones based on his or her patients’ needs.
If you want the best results from an implant procedure, you need an experienced dentist. Consistency is key here. Don’t go to one dentist to perform the procedure and another one to do repairs.
It’s best to keep seeing the same dentist for a dental implant procedure. You see, other dentists may not have the same access to the material components used on you.
That said, dental implantation can either be a two-stage or single-stage procedure. Knowing how the two are different will help you understand why sticking to one dentist is a must.
As the name implies, a two-stage implant requires two stages. In the first stage, your dentist will place the implant in your jawbone. After this, he or she will stitch the gum tissue and you will have to wait for the implant to heal.
During this time, your dentist will recommend dentures if you’re able to wear them. After 3 to 6 months, when your implant has healed, your dentist will perform another surgery.
This time, he or she will expose the implant, attach an abutment, and your new prosthetic teeth.
Given the wait time, it’s easy to see why some patients prefer a single-stage implant procedure. It’s best if you and your dentist can talk about this in detail. This is so you both can arrive at the right decision based on your needs.
Do note that with single-stage dental implants, the implants are longer. In this procedure, the implant head is visible.
After the healing stage, your dentist can attach the abutment and temporary restoration. This eliminates the need for another surgery where your dentist has to expose the head.
Ideal candidates for dental implants are those who have good gums and bone density. Don’t forget that dental implants fuse with the gums in the mouth.
Someone with gum disease could develop an infection. And this would make the implant worthless.
As for bone density, you have to consider what would support the implant. Without an adequate amount of bone, how would your jawbone accept the implant?
Other factors that could exclude you from the procedure is your health. Do you have a condition such as diabetes or leukaemia that affects your body’s ability to heal? Are you taking medications (e.g. bisphosphonate drugs) that could cause complications?
Consider talking with your dentist so you’ll know if you’re a good candidate for an implant.
Getting implants is a big decision. And it’s a procedure that requires commitment on your part.
After all, there is a lot of stuff to prepare for from the first discussion with your dentist to post-surgery. Your dentist will take x-rays and check your mouth.
For your part, you need to disclose your health history. Based on this, your dental team can recommend the right tooth replacement option.
And once you have your implants, you can’t be lax about following through with your dentist. You have to go for regular visits and you must practice good oral hygiene daily.
If you live in Kingston upon Thames, we can help. Dr Ian Seddon is our specialist dental implant dentist with over 20 years of experience in the field.