What Are Dental Implants?
Missing one or more teeth can impact the beauty of your smile as well as the function of your mouth, including impairing your ability to eat or speak. Dental implants from Saco River Dentistry can replace missing teeth with beautiful results and give you a smile you can be proud to show off. Our dentists are extensively trained in the planning and placement of dental implants, an advanced technique that’s considered the gold standard for addressing missing teeth. Comprised of titanium posts capped with dental crowns, dental implants are designed to mimic the look and feel of natural teeth while providing strength and durability. During your initial consultation, your dentist can help you determine if this is the right approach for your needs and goals, and they will customize your treatment plan to optimize your outcome and make your experience as pleasant as possible.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants can provide a number of advantages over alternative treatment options such as traditional removable dentures. In addition to replacing missing teeth, some of the potential benefits include:
- Enhanced comfort and fit
- Low maintenance—simply brush, floss, and have routine checkups as usual
- Reduced wear and tear on the gums
- Preservation of jawbone strength and density
- Improved bite alignment and function
- Beautiful, natural-looking results
- Few, if any, dietary limitations
- No messy adhesives
Questions about dental implants? We can help. Contact our friendly and knowledgeable team to learn more about dental implants or other options for replacing missing teeth.
What Are My Dental Implant Options?
Dental implants can address multiple concerns, and selecting the right option for you is part of the service we offer. Some of the most popular treatments are:
Single Tooth Implants
Patients can replace each missing tooth with an individual dental implant. This provides a strong, attractive restoration that works and looks just like the natural tooth. Individual implants can be used for one, several, or all missing teeth.
Dental Implant Bridges
If you are missing more than one tooth in a row, a dental bridge secured with dental implants can provide a stable and secure restoration that’s also beautiful. Many benefits come from using implants over traditional dental crowns alone, and we can review these during your first visit.
Implant-supported dentures, also called implant-anchored dentures, are another option for patients who are dissatisfied with traditional removable dentures. These alternatives offer a better fit, greater prevention of jawbone loss, and easier maintenance than traditional dentures.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
To fully understand how long dental implants can last, it’s important to note there are two main components of the restoration—the implant post and the prosthetic attachment (a crown, bridge, or denture). Once placed, the post fuses with the jawbone over the course of several months through a process called osseointegration. Following a successful osseointegration period, the implant post is considered a permanent fixture of the mouth that can last a lifetime. With proper care and routine maintenance, the attached prosthetic can last decades as well. Daily brushing and flossing in addition to attending regular dental check-ups can help prevent dental decay and disease, further promoting the longevity of your implant(s). If you experience an oral injury or other issue with your implant(s), we encourage you to contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists.
Are There Alternatives to Dental Implants?
Although dental implants are a popular treatment for replacing missing teeth, they may not be the ideal option in every circumstance. For example, if you do not have sufficient jawbone density or suffer from advanced gum disease, you may want to consider a different restorative dental treatment:
Full or Partial Dentures
Traditional removable dentures can provide an effective solution to tooth loss for those who are missing entire arches of teeth. Designed to fit on top of the gums, traditional dentures can restore the appearance of your smile while also promoting chewing and speaking function.
Implant dentures can replace a full arch of teeth, oftentimes providing patients with a more comfortable, convenient, and natural-looking alternative to traditional removable dentures. Many patients who are not candidates for a full mouth of dental implants are still eligible for implant dentures, which can be anchored using as few as four dental implants (a technique known as All-on-4™).
A conventional dental bridge can replace one or more consecutive missing or damaged teeth in a row by anchoring a replacement tooth (or teeth) to two crowns placed on the adjacent natural teeth.
Full Mouth Reconstruction
For some patients, a more comprehensive approach to restoring dental function may be necessary than dental implants alone can provide. In these cases, a custom full mouth reconstruction plan can be created to optimize your oral health, replace missing teeth, and rejuvenate the appearance of your smile. During your initial appointment, one of our extensively trained dentists can discuss different treatment options with you, including periodontal therapy, dental crowns, implant restorations, and more.