Dental ImplantsThough there have been a lot of improvements in dental care over the past few decades, millions of people suffer from tooth loss each year in the United States. Tooth loss usually occurs as a result of tooth decay or gum disease, though sometimes it results from injury to the mouth. For a long time, the only way to treat tooth loss was with dentures or bridges, but today, many patients choose to get dental implants instead.

Dental Implant Basics

Dental implants1 are a special dental prosthetic that can be firmly attached to the patient’s jaw through special titanium implants. The prosthetic looks and behaves just like the patient’s real teeth. The titanium “roots” provide a solid foundation to which the prosthetic teeth can attach. The jaw bone grows around and into these prosthetic titanium “roots”. Because dental implants look and feel like real teeth, patients can continue to smile and make facial expressions without being concerned that their dentures will malfunction. But even more importantly, dental implants allow patients to eat the foods they’ve always eaten and continue to enjoy social get-togethers that involve food and laughter. Dr. Mitrogogos adds that dental implants also helps maintain jaw bone structure.

At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, we do a thorough evaluation on all patients before they undergo the dental implant procedure. After patients have been approved for the procedure, they must have damaged teeth removed and any necessary bone-grafting performed first (in order to build jaw bone so that the titanium posts can be solidly rooted in the mouth). Once damaged teeth are removed and the jaw bone is sufficiently prepped, the dental implant posts can be placed in the mouth. After the posts are in place, patients must wait for the jawbone to fuse with the posts and for general healing to take place. Then, the abutments and artificial teeth can be put into the mouth for a final result that is often more aesthetically appealing than the patient’s real teeth.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures

There are many different dental implant options available to patients. Patients with bone loss in their jaw may be able to benefit from bone-grafting to rebuild the bone. Some patients may need more titanium posts than others. At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, we’ll carefully consider your specific circumstances to come up with a treatment plan that will best meet your needs. If you qualify for dental implants, but you’re still considering dentures2 as a viable option following tooth loss, it’s important that you fully understand how these two procedures differ in terms of quality-of-life outcomes. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of dental implants and the potential disadvantages of dentures.

Denture Downfalls

Compared to dentures, dental implants provide a lot of important benefits to patients. No one wants to lose all their teeth, but even fewer of our patients at Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center want to wear dentures! Dentures rarely stay in place, they can cause deterioration of the jaw bone resulting in aesthetic changes to the face, and patients who wear dentures smile less often than patients with dental implants. Patients who wear dentures often find that they can no longer enjoy many of their favorite foods anymore. The end result of smiling less and no longer eating foods that patients really enjoy is a diminished quality of life!

The dental implant benefits that our patients enjoy are many and we try to counsel our patients to always consider these benefits carefully when making a decision about their treatment options following tooth loss.

Dental Implant Advantages

One of the first things patients notice about their dental implants is that they actually improve their appearance and may even make them look younger! Dental implants look like your own natural teeth. And because the implants are attached to posts that are firmly rooted in your jaw (similar to real teeth), they also behave like your original teeth. That means you can continue to eat what you love and smile when people take your picture.

Most of us take our ability to speak and form words clearly for granted, but if you’ve ever worn dentures, you know that enunciating your words without firmly rooted teeth can sometimes be a challenge. Dental implants solve this problem. The prosthetic teeth attach to titanium rods in the mouth which means they don’t move around when you’re eating, speaking, smiling, or laughing. If you have something important to say, your dental implants won’t fail you! Public speaking engagements and just fun with friends can continue without issues for patients with dental implants.

Comfort is another important thing to consider in terms of dental implant advantages. Dental implant prosthetic teeth feel just like your real teeth. No one will know the difference and in fact, once the titanium rods are in place and the teeth have been attached to the abutments, you probably won’t think very much about your teeth. If you’ve had a lot of cavities or other issues with your real teeth, dental implants may even be more comfortable than real teeth.

Oral health is an important consideration because sometimes, dental implants can actually improve a patient’s oral health. And since oral health issues can lead to health issues throughout the body, patients should consider this particular benefit carefully when thinking about dental implants. Dental implants offer a solution to patients who may have struggled for years with decayed or broken teeth. With proper oral hygiene, dental implants can last for many years or even a lifetime.

Dental Implant Success Rate

Though all dental procedures vary in terms of their success at treating oral issues, dental implants have a surprisingly high success rate at 98%. At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implants Center, we pay careful attention to where we place the titanium rods in the jaw to ensure optimal levels of success with this procedure. And though there are still situations where dentures may be the best option, whenever possible, we recommend dental implants to patients so that they can continue to smile and enjoy the best of what life has to offer.