What is the Truth about Dental Implants in Austin, Texas?

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Dental patients in Austin, Texas and many other areas of the country are often curious about dental implants. If you’re like these people, you’ve no doubt heard of the term, but you may not know the truth about dental implants. Although this remarkable dental technology has gained tremendous popularity in just the past several years, implants were actually invented almost 70 years ago! In 1952, Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark invented implants and the process involved in implanting them into the jawbones of dental patients. Since that time, the materials used and the procedure itself have been fine-tuned, and today dental implants are considered by many dental professionals to be not only one of the most common but also one of the best methods to replace missing teeth. Because they are permanent and durable fixtures, implants are also widely used as anchors for other dental appliances, such as bridges, partials and dentures, for example.

The Dental Implant Procedure

The process involved in getting a new dental implant begins when the dentist or oral surgeon inserts a metal rod into the jawbone of the patient, at the same location of the missing tooth. After a period of months, the metal (typically titanium) fuses to the natural bone tissue of the patient. The result is an extremely strong, permanent, artificial tooth root. Once the fusing is complete, the dentist affixes a crown to the top of the implant. Usually made from dental porcelain, the crown is created to very closely match the natural color of the patient’s teeth. The end result is a completely natural-looking replacement for one or more missing teeth.

Caring for Dental Implants

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Unlike some other replacements for missing teeth – such as dentures, bridges or partials, for example – dental implants require no special care at all. The patient simply brushes and flosses as usual. This is due to the fact that an implant can’t be removed by the patient. In fact, most dental professionals consider implants to be as close to a new natural tooth as modern dentistry can produce. This also means that patients with dental implants can eat whatever they’d like, as opposed to people with dentures, for example, who often need to limit the types of food they eat.

The Durability of Dental Implants

Another advantage of dental implants is their durability. If properly cared for, a dental implant lasts for many, many years. In fact, implants often last for the lifetime of the patient. This is particularly true for the implant itself, which is the rod that is inserted into the jawbone of the patient. Once that rod is inserted, it’s there to stay. So even if the crown on top of the implant has to be replaced at some point in the future, the implant itself should remain there for the lifetime of the patient in most circumstances.

Are You a Good Candidate for a Dental Implant?​

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants are often an excellent method to replace those teeth. Although the process takes several months to complete, many patients feel that the end result is well worth the effort since implants are not only quite durable and long-lasting, but can be cared for just the same as the patient’s regular teeth, and there are no dietary restrictions for implants. As long as you have an adequate amount of jawbone present to accommodate the implant, you are most likely a good candidate for this remarkable dental technology. But even for people without adequate jawbone density, it’s still possible to enjoy the benefits of dental implants. Oral surgeons can do a bone graft prior to the implant procedure, which increases the strength of the bone and makes it adequate to hold the implant.

Dental Implants and Other Options for Replacing Missing Teeth

If you are missing several teeth, or if you have to have some or all of your teeth extracted for whatever reason, there are typically three options available to replace your missing teeth:

  • Dentures or partial dentures – Removable dentures (either complete sets or partial sets) are often a more economical method to replace missing teeth than implants. But these more traditional appliances have their drawbacks. Because dentures are removable, that means that they are also more likely to move around inside your mouth, often impacting the way you speak and what types of food you can eat. Removable dentures also require special care and need to be soaked in water or denture cleaning liquid when they’re not in use.
  • Fixed dental bridge – Some patients opt for a fixed (non-removable) dental bridge to replace a few missing teeth. These appliances can work well, but only if there is sufficient surrounding natural teeth to provide support for the appliance.
  • Dental implants – Considering the alternatives, you can understand why so many people choose dental implants to replace missing teeth. As we mentioned before, it’s also possible to use dental implants to anchor other appliances, such as the dentures, partials and bridges mentioned above. This helps to hold those appliances inside the patient’s mouth, preventing them from slipping or moving around at all. While this is definitely an advantage, many patients believe that simply replacing their missing teeth with implants is preferable, for all the reasons discussed above.

The truth about dental implants is simple: they can be an excellent choice for replacing missing teeth! In fact, getting a new dental implant is very much like getting a brand new natural tooth. So if you need to replace a single tooth, or a whole mouthful of teeth, dental implants can not only improve your oral health but improve the overall quality of your life in so many ways. Whether you live in Austin, Texas, or any other part of the country, you should be able to find several dental professionals who offer dental implants as one of their services. To find out more about dental implants, and whether or not they are the right choice for you, contact your dentist today!

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