In the US, an estimated 90% to 96% of adults aged 20 and older have had dental caries at some point in their lives.
Worse, many of these people haven’t had their tooth caries treated!
Unfortunately, untreated caries leads to cavities, which then leads to tooth loss. Today, over 120 million Americans are already missing at least one tooth.
In Missouri alone, one in four people aged 65 and older were completely toothless in 2008. 53.5% of this age group is also missing at least six teeth.
If you’ve lost a permanent tooth, it’s time to consider your dental implant options. If you’re a good tooth implant candidate, you may want to choose implants over dentures.
Ready to learn what your implant options are and why they may be better suited for you than dentures? Then let’s get right into it!
A dental implant serves as a “replica” of a tooth root. An implant dentist will place this either right into your jawbone or above the bone line, inside the gums. Once your bone and gums heal, the dentist can place the abutment and artificial tooth on top of the implant.
Implants consist of titanium, the metal regarded to be the most biocompatible material. It also boasts of the greatest osseointegration capacity.
Osseointegration is the process in which the implant bonds with the jaw bone. This then results in the implant becoming a permanent part or structure of your jaw.
Many people now choose tooth implants because of their high success rate of 95% to 99%. This applies to both the endosteal and subperiosteal implants. Both types, after all, are excellent options to recover and improve mouth functions.
How exactly do endosteal implants vary from subperiosteal implants though? The exact surgical site is what makes these two different.
Endosteal implants are also known as endosseous implants. An implant specialist surgically places these implants right inside the jawbone.
Of the two main types of implants, the endosteal kind is more common. In the US, dentists place an estimated 450,000 osseointegrated implants every year.
Subperiosteal implants are tooth root replicas surgically placed below the gums. As such, your gums — not your jaw bone — will heal over the artificial tooth roots.
Your implant dentist in St. Louis, MO may recommend this type of implant if you have a smaller or shorter jawbone. Subperiosteal implants are lightweight, so they may be better for such cases.
Most dental implant patients are those who need individual or multiple tooth replacements. However, people who have lost all their natural teeth can also have full dental implants.
If you’ve lost or are missing just one tooth, then you can get an individual or single implant. If you have missing teeth that are far from each other, you can also get single implants for each tooth you’ve lost.
Let’s say you’re missing all your molars on either side of your upper or lower arch. In this case, your dentist may recommend implant-supported bridges. These multiple implants will serve as the replacement for the lost adjacent teeth.
Like high-quality dentures in St. Louis, you can also get full implants to replace all your lost teeth. So long as you have enough healthy gums and bone, you can get full implants.
Much thanks to their high success rate, dental implant prevalence in the US has surged to 5.7% by 2016. This is a huge 5% difference from the prevalence rate back in 1999.
The question is, what exactly drives this increase in dental implant use?
One of the top reasons to consider implants is their fixed, permanent characteristic. Unlike dentures, which are “superficial”, implants become part of your jawbone. This then allows the implants to preserve your remaining bone.
Keep in mind that as the jaw bone deteriorates, it loses more of its structure. Left untreated, your jaw bone can become too weak to even support your remaining teeth. As such, by preserving your jawbone, you can prevent the loss of more teeth in the future.
In addition, losing your teeth puts you at risk of bone resorption (bone loss). If you let this continue, your facial structure will change. Your lips and the surrounding skin will wrinkle, while your cheeks will shift or sink in.
Dentures are still the most common prosthetics in the US, with nine in 10 of edentulous people using them. This is primarily due to their affordability. They are also quick and easy to manufacture and often don’t need surgical placement.
However, long-term use of dentures can result in jaw bone loss, as they don’t stimulate the jaw bone. They can also loosen over time, which can affect the way you bite, chew, and speak. Improper care can even make them so loose that they may pop out while you’re speaking!
Dental implants won’t put you in this situation. In fact, aside from preserving bone, they have even shown to trigger new bone growth.
Of all the options you have to replace your lost teeth, dental implants are the most aesthetic. Not only do they function much like natural teeth — they also look like natural teeth!
This doesn’t mean that you should be fine with losing your permanent teeth though. There’s nothing that can best natural teeth, but if you’ve already lost a few, then implants can help.
Ready to learn more about your top dental implant options? Then please don’t hesitate to connect with us now! We’ll be more than happy to answer all your tooth replacement questions.