Dental implants have been around in their current form for nearly 50 years, so why are we hearing more and more about them recently?
There are many reasons, and I will offer several trends. They are very mainstream for the replacement of teeth. Eight hundred thousand dental implants were placed in the United States last year. It has become a viable option for many people who previously may not have considered getting a dental implant.
People are living longer and want to have their teeth to chew and smile. Many patients are in their 60s, 70s and 80s when they choose dental implants. Many of my patients tell me they are not willing to compromise being able to eat the foods they want to eat. They also tell us they are embarrassed when they smile if they are missing teeth. Of course, we see patients who are also younger as well, but as people age, they are more likely to be missing one or more teeth.
Dental implants have become simpler and easier to place, thus they are more cost-effective. Many patients are pleasantly surprised that the cost has come down in recent years due to improved technology.
Titanium is the material most implants are now made from, and it is extremely biocompatible with the environment of the mouth. This makes infection and complications very rare. Most patients who have dental implants to replace their teeth are surprised there is little to no pain when they have these procedures completed.
There are normally two steps to getting a dental implant. The first step is a very minor surgery to have the root form of the implant placed into the area that has a tooth missing. This normally takes 30 to 90 minutes depending on the complexity of the situation. If more implants are being placed at once, this can take longer, depending on the complexity of the case. The second phase after healing of the implant is to place a crown in the area of the missing tooth.
If a patient is missing all teeth, mini implants can be placed under a denture to secure and stabilize the denture. Most of the time, the denture can be secured to the mini implants the same day they are placed.
The technology that dentistry possesses today enables us to help patients more quickly and easily, more pain-free and with less cost than we were previously able to do. It is a great time to be a dental patient who wants to have dental implants.
Information provided by Dr. Steffany Mohan, dentist, author and speaker, Plaza Dental Group, 1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, www.DMsmiles.com, 515-224-5999.