There are many advantages to dental implants, including:
- Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that your teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
- Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile, and help you feel better about yourself.
- Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing 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 your long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.
- Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
- Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing your dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.
What Are Dental Implants?
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.
In general, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance at this time. Coverage under your medical plan may be possible, depending on the insurance plan and/or cause of tooth loss. Detailed questions about your individual needs and how they relate to insurance should be discussed with your dentist and your insurance provider.
Are Dental Implants Covered by Insurance?
There are a few dental insurance companies providing coverage for dental implants, although at this time it is a rare occurrence. Typically, insurance companies consider implant surgery a cosmetic procedure, and do not provide payment. Some patients have found that medical insurance companies will pay for the procedure, if medical necessity is determined. In order to find out the details of your coverage with either your dental or medical plan, call your insurance company and ask for information regarding your coverage.
Five-year follow-up study observed marginal bone remodeling occurs between implant placement and prosthesis placement.
CHICAGO—May 11, 2009—Dental implants are frequently used as a replacement for missing teeth in order to restore the patient’s tooth function and appearance. Previous research demonstrates that the placement of a dental implant disrupts the host tissue in the area of the implant, so practitioners often focus their treatment planning to carefully maintain the patient’s bone and gum tissue surrounding the implant. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that the majority of bone remodeling occurred in the time between the implant placement and final prosthesis placement.
Subsequently, little mean bone change was observed in the five years following the implant placement, independent of type of restoration or implant length. The study, conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, evaluated 596 dental implants placed in 192 patients over the age of 18. Patients were screened for adequate oral hygiene and bone volume. Exclusion criteria included heavy smoking, chewing tobacco use, drug abuse, and untreated periodontal disease, amongst others.
Study author Dr. David Cochran, DDS, PhD, Chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and President of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), believes that this study provides additional support for the use of dental implants to replace missing teeth. “As a periodontist, I am committed to saving my patients’ natural dentition whenever possible. However, the results of this study help further indicate that a dental implant is an effective and dependable tooth replacement option. Since the patient’s host tissue surrounding the dental implant largely remains unchanged in the five years following placement, the dental team can now focus on periodic assessment and treatment of other areas in the mouth as needed, and know that the implant is doing its job as a viable substitute solution.”
More and more older people are selecting dental implants over dentures as a replacement option for lost teeth. Whether you have lost one or all of your teeth, dental implants allow you to have teeth that look and feel just like your own.
Older adults have similar success rate with implants compared with younger people. As long as you’re in good health and your periodontist can restore healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant, you’re never too old to receive a dental implant.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
In addition, dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. Therefore, they prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompanies bridgework and dentures and preserve the integrity of facial features. When teeth are missing, the bone which previously supported these teeth begins to deteriorate. This can result in dramatic changes in your appearance, such as increased wrinkles around the mouth and lips that cave in and lose their natural shape.
Since periodontists are the dental experts who specialize in precisely these areas, they are ideal members of your dental implant team. Not only do periodontists have experience working with other dental professionals, they also have the special knowledge, training and facilities that you need to have teeth that look and feel just like your own.
Talk with your periodontist to find out if dental implants are an option for you.