What Are Dental Implants, and Are They Right for You?

Dentist showing a patient a model of a dental implant

If you have a missing tooth that needs replacing, you may be thinking about getting a dental implant to restore your smile.

What exactly are dental implants, and are they right for you? Learn the facts about dental implants so that you can make an informed decision. 

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is an artificially constructed tooth root surgically placed into your jaw. This device can restore a missing tooth caused by gum disease, injury, or tooth decay. 

A dental implant consists of three parts:

  1. The implant body, which resembles a screw and is inserted through the gum tissue into the bone
  2. An abutment (also known as a connector), which is attached to the implant body once the implant is fully established or integrated
  3. A custom-made permanent crown that fits on top of the abutment

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), dental implant placement is the only tooth restorative option that preserves your natural bone. In some patients, it even promotes bone growth. 

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Dental implant placement isn’t something to take lightly. While it can offer multiple long-term benefits, it is still a major dental procedure. Here are a few benefits of dental implants:

  • Natural appearance: Dental implants are the most natural-looking option available. Each custom-made crown will match your remaining teeth.
  • Comfortable: As great as they look, dental implants aren’t just preferable for aesthetics. You’ll be able to eat and speak normally without worrying about your device falling out of place. 
  • Improved bone health: A dental implant replaces the root of your tooth. This provides stimulation for the bone in that area.
  • Durable: Dental implants are incredibly stable and durable compared to other restorative options. Dentures only last for five to seven years, and bridges last for about ten years. If you take proper care of your implants, they can last for up to 25 years or even longer. 
  • Improved facial structure: Facial sagging is an unfortunate consequence of bone loss caused by missing teeth. If left unaddressed, the face will slowly begin to collapse. You’ll notice changes like thinner lips and excess wrinkles around the mouth. With dental implants, you can prevent this kind of physical aging from occurring. 

Are dental implants safe?

Yes, dental implant placement is considered a safe, low-risk procedure for patients who qualify.

Your dentist will review your medical history, examine your overall health, and inform you if you may be at risk for any complications. A good dentist won’t recommend dental implants if you have a condition that would make it unsafe for you.

Are there risks?

In general, the most common side effects of dental implant placement include tooth/jaw pain, swelling, and minor bleeding. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication after your surgery to help with the discomfort, as well as an antibiotic to prevent infections.

Our team here at Muscaro & Martini Dentistry is trained to help patients have the most comfortable experience possible and mitigate risks. We’re here to help, so talk to us if you have concerns or questions!

Am I a good candidate for dental implant surgery?

If you have damaged or missing teeth that need replacing, you may be wondering if you’re a good candidate for dental implant placement.

Dental implants may be right for you if you: 

  • Having at least one missing tooth
  • Have a fully developed jawbone that can support the implant (in other words, children who are still growing often don’t qualify for implant surgery)
  • Have healthy teeth and gums, and no underlying periodontal disease
  • Can’t or don’t want to wear dentures
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco

During a consultation, your dentist will help determine if it’s safe for you to receive a dental implant and understand if there are factors that may preclude you from this type of surgery. If you’re not a candidate for a dental implant, your dentist can help you find other solutions.

How do dental implants compare to other options?

If you have a missing tooth, getting a dental implant isn’t your only solution. Other options include dental bridges and dentures.

  • Dental bridges replace missing teeth. The bridge often requires the support or manipulation of the surrounding teeth. Muscaro and Martini Dentistry can either use CEREC technology to create custom bridges that can be used to restore your smile in a single visit or sometimes involve a dental laboratory. While bridges are a much quicker fix than dental implants, they aren’t as durable or long-lasting.
  • Dentures are prosthetic teeth designed to replace missing teeth. They get support from both the soft and hard tissues of your oral cavity. Traditional dentures are removable so that you can take them out for cleaning. Dentures are another quick fix, but may not look natural as implants. Plus, they may impede speech or eating if they do not fit correctly.

Dental bridges, dentures, and dental implant surgery are all three good options depending on a patient’s individual situation. Your dentist will talk with you about the best course of action for you and your teeth.

Schedule a Consultation to Learn if Dental Implants are Right for You

If you are unsure which option is right for you, get in touch with our team at Muscaro & Martini Dentistry. We will evaluate your unique situation and come up with an effective treatment plan. Schedule an appointment at our South Tampa office today!

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