All About Dental Implants

Tooth human implant. Dental concept. Human teeth or dentures.

Are there gaps in your smile? According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, “35 million Americans are missing all their teeth in one or both jaws,” with many more missing one or a few teeth. Living with gaps in your smile can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and unhealthy. Your teeth are fundamental to your quality of life—you can’t eat, chew, speak, or smile easily without them. Furthermore, if you don’t replace missing teeth, this can lead to a cascade of other oral health issues, as you mouth and jaws adjust to try and fill the space left behind.

In the past, the only solution to missing teeth were restorations like dentures, bridges, and crowns that sat on top of your gums. While they can be beautiful and effective, they do have their downsides. Fortunately, modern technology has revolutionized restorative dentistry for people with missing teeth. At Dr. Cindy Flanagan’s Houston practice, we often assist patients using dental implants. While you’ve likely heard this term in advertisements, from friends, or even at our office, you may not know exactly what dental implants are. That’s why we’ve made this week’s blog post all about dental implants! Read on to learn more about this state-of-the-art tooth technology.

Dental Implants 101

What makes dental implants different from other restorations is the way they’re held in place. As we mentioned above, regular prostheses sit above the gums. Dental implants, on the other hand, are firmly attached to your actual jawbone, just as a natural tooth would be. This is because implant technology replaces not just the tooth, but the tooth’s rootAccording to WebMD, “dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.” Dental implants are titanium posts inserted into your jawbone, where they integrate with your existing tissue. Once the posts are placed, we can simply attach any kind of prosthesis to them.

Do You Qualify?

You may be eligible for dental implants if:

  • You are missing one or more teeth.
  • You have one or more teeth that require extraction. This could be due to injury, fracture, severe decay, gum disease, or some other issue.
  • You are in good general health, since the placement of one or more dental implants is a surgical procedure.
  • You are in excellent oral and dental health. If you suffer from decay or gum disease, we will need to treat your condition before providing dental implants.
  • You have sufficient jawbone tissue for dental implants. Since implants are placed within and fuse to the jawbone, it’s important that you have enough jawbone material to hold them. If you do not, you may be able to undergo a preparatory procedure to help you qualify for dental implants.

Dr. Flanagan will examine your mouth, go over your records, discuss the procedure with you, take X-rays, and perform any other needed diagnostic tests to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants.

Benefits of Dental Implants

There are numerous advantages to restoring your smile with sophisticated implant technology. Dental implants can improve your:

  • Comfort. Regular restorations, particularly dentures, can shift around in your mouth, irritating your gums and knocking against any remaining teeth. Dental implants are designed like a natural tooth, stable and secure.
  • Oral health. Dental implants hold prostheses to your jawbone, rather than securing them with surrounding teeth. WebMD explains: “dental implants don’t require reducing [shaving down] other teeth, as a tooth supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.” In addition to these important factors, dental implants are durable, so you’ll have to undergo fewer treatments to keep them in good shape.
  • Ability to eat. Regular restorations can move around in your mouth when you try to eat. They may even loosen or fall out if you eat more chewy, sticky, hard, or otherwise difficult foods. You don’t have to worry about this with dental implants.
  • Appearance. Dental implants feel more like teeth within your mouth, and they also look natural, especially with our beautiful crowns, bridges, and dentures.
  • Speech. Typical restorations can slide around in your mouth as you talk, making it more difficult to enunciate clearly. This is not the case with dental implants, since these are rooted to your jawbone.
  • Quality of life. All of the above benefits make your day-to-day activities easier, allowing you to relax and enjoy your life more.

Dr. Flanagan can go over more specific advantages of dental implants for your particular case at your initial consultation for dental implants.

Are You Interested in Dental Implants?

We’d love to tell you more about them and help you find out if they may be right for you. Contact our Houston dental practice today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Flanagan!

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