If you have missing teeth, then do not lose hope because there is an alternative to dentures for the replacement of missing teeth. Dental implants, made of titanium, are embedded into the jaw bone by means of a surgical procedure. For this procedure to be successful, the implant first needs to be integrated with the jaw bone. This can take up to six months. Once this is accomplished, a tooth matching your original tooth is attached.
Why is this better than having dentures? Because the implanted tooth does not shift and move while you eat or talk like ill-fitting dentures do. A well-established and time-tested treatment, once fitted with dental implants, they can last for years if kept in good condition. Earlier dental implants were risky and experimental but today dental implants make a reliable choice for those looking to replace their missing teeth.
Dental Implants: Risky or Safe?
More than scientific fact as the basis for allegations, it is individual experience and opinion that has given rise to controversies surrounding the safety of dental implants. There have been extreme cases of success and extreme cases of failure, but no common factor has been used to judge the success rate. Little attention has been devoted to whether the implant is truly helping the patient or the patient is in a worse condition after the procedure. There have been problems related to dental implants such as extensive bone loss and other complications. But patients have been using these implants for years. Some cases work and some don’t. In a formal conference by the National Institutes of Health, a consensus was arrived at to define success for a dental implantation.
One of the conclusions was that a dental implant had to provide functional service for 5 years in 75% of the cases to be termed as successful. This implied adequate function, absence of discomfort, and an improved patient psyche. Apart from dental implants, there are other cosmetic treatments as well but whatever the treatment, missing teeth affect confidence and self-esteem and should be dealt with. No matter what kind of tooth replacement technique you choose, make the choice at the earliest.
How do you decide to get an implant?
Dental implants must be opted for only after exploring all other options. It is an invasive and expensive procedure, so the dentist must keep the patient health and budget in mind. Just as in any other profession, there are unscrupulous doctors who prescribe implants without considering other options, so make sure that you consult with well-reputed and experienced dentists before taking the plunge.
Dental implants done without due consideration may lead to tissue ulcers, pain, bleeding, redness, and distress for the patient. There are some important factors to take into consideration before getting an implant:
- Overall patient health and oral health
If the patient is already unhealthy then placing a foreign object into his or her body is a disaster waiting to happen. Ill health could range from annoying symptoms caused by a drug to a diagnosed illness. In cases where a patient has suffered from cancer, the dental implant could pose a bigger risk. Therefore, before implantation, patient health should be improved. Apart from patient health, oral health is equally important to avoid infections after the surgery. During the wound healing process it is imperative that you maintain your hygiene, eat nutritious food, and stay healthy.
- Meridian upon which the implant will be placed
The acupuncture meridian where the dental implant will be placed is also an important factor. Every tooth and its surrounding area are situated on an acupuncture meridian and this links to the other organs of the body, tissues, muscles, nervous system, etc. For example, placing the implant on the colon meridian of a man who has a family history of colon cancer may not be the best idea.
- Implant material
Traditionally, dental implants are made of titanium but sometimes it is alloyed with aluminum and vanadium. Non-compatible materials in the mouth will result in corrosion, releasing by-products into the body. The metal crown placed on an implant gives rise to corrosion so it’s best that metal is not used in the crown. There are significant advantages to using zirconia dental implants because these are bio-compatible and do not cause any corrosion. But again, there may be disadvantages to using zirconia as well.
- Patient Habits
If the patient is a smoker or a tobacco chewer then the long-term impact of a dental implant could be dampened. It is important that patients with dental implants maintain their oral hygiene.
- Does self-esteem get impacted?
Dental implants can often cause self-esteem issues in patients, especially if the patients are young. They often relate implants with old age. Having an implant may result in the patient not smiling or lacking in self-confidence. These could impact the patient more negatively than the implant itself.
- The rest of the mouth
With titanium implants in the mouth it is best that no other metals are present as well. This way both corrosion and electric currents are minimized. Also, it is crucial that patients have a nutritious meal to keep their system healthy. This will also ensure that they will be mentally and physically ready to accept the dental implant. After all, age, illness, and emotional trauma may affect the implant negatively. Once patient gets an implant, it is important to undergo periodic checking to ensure there are no side-effects or infections.
Are Dental Implants for You?
First decide whether you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Consult with a specialist and take your time, even months to decide whether you are ready for it. Clear any concerns you may have and weigh the pros and cons before venturing ahead. Nowadays quality standards are quite high and doctors are more aware of patient concerns. If you are able to find a good implant dentist, then sure enough, you should be able to get the implant done.
Remember that even after you are done with surgery, the process is not over. Regular maintenance is crucial to a healthy mouth and check-ups need to be done with your dentist. If you have any concerns about the side-effects of getting dental implants or any medication, consult your dentist today.