When Are Dental Implants the Best Dental Care Option?

Introduction

Missing teeth is an issue most people want to address quickly and effectively. You want the best, long-term solution that gives you back your natural smile. You don’t want teeth that look fake, shift out of place, or create more problems with your oral health.

For the last couple of decades, the use of dental implants has been a popular way to replace missing teeth. They are hailed as the superior choice when it comes to providing a natural smile, with the bonus of helping you maintain your oral health better than most other tooth replacement options. For the vast majority of people who need to replace one or more missing teeth, dental implants are the best way to go.

Key Points

  • Dental implants are a popular choice for tooth replacement because of the long-term benefits for your smile and oral health.
  • Implants offer a unique solution that addresses both the root of the tooth and the crown, creating a stable replacement that appears and functions like your natural teeth.
  • In some cases, dental implants might not be the right choice for your situation.
  • With proper care and maintenance, dental implants could last the rest of your life.
When Are Dental Implants the Best Dental Care Option?

Dr. Hogan has specialized in restoring missing teeth for over 40 years, consulting with a vast number of patients with varying challenges and needs. In most cases, dental implants are the appropriate recommendation to fulfill their desire to regain a natural smile and restore function. However, during this time, he has also seen many circumstances where a bridge, veneers, or other alternatives may be a superior choice based on that particular individual’s needs.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants provide permanent tooth replacement by replacing both the visible tooth and the root. The procedure involves installing (implanting) a titanium post in the jawbone and allowing it to fuse with the bone to build a secure foundation for the replacement tooth.

After completing the healing process, Dr. Hogan will bond the new crown to the anchoring post, creating a new tooth that looks and feels like your natural teeth. This process secures the new tooth in place, preventing it from moving or shifting. In most cases, you cannot distinguish the artificial tooth from your surrounding, natural teeth. With the proper care and maintenance of your dental implants, like your current daily dental care routine, your implants could last the rest of your life, providing a permanent solution to tooth loss.

But, are dental implants the best solution for every situation?

When Are Dental Implants the Best Dental Care Option?

For most people, dental implants will provide the best and longest-lasting solution for tooth loss. The following situations could mean you are a good candidate for dental implants:

  • A missing tooth with space in the gums for a replacement.
  • A damaged tooth without an adequate or healthy root.
  • One or more missing teeth that need replacing.
  • You are in good physical health
  • You have good oral health with a strong jawbone absent of gum disease.

When Implants Might Not Be the Best Treatment?

For most people, dental implants are the best way to correct tooth loss. However, there are circumstances when an implant may not result in improved aesthetics or a better smile. Dental implants require oral surgery and anesthesia to complete the procedure. As with any surgery, you must be in good physical health and able to withstand the effects of anesthesia to qualify for dental implants.

Missing or weak bone near the implant site could disqualify you for an implant. You must have enough bone and a strong jawline to support and securely hold the titanium post of the implant in place. The process involves inserting a screw-like titanium post into the jawbone. If the bone is weak or deteriorated, it may not support the implant.

Bone loss or gum disease. In addition to a strong bone structure, a successful implant requires enough bone tissue for the implant to integrate and fuse to the existing jaw. Bone loss can be the result of gum disease, cavities, infection, or even injuries. It often creates weak or brittle bones that could require you to look for other alternatives that do not require an implant post being inserted into the jawbone.

Cases when bone grafting will not correct the problem: Bone grafting is one solution to bone loss that could allow you to receive implants. Dr. Hogan can add bone tissue to the existing jawbone to strengthen the jaw sufficiently to hold an implant. Dental implants are not the best alternative in cases where bone loss has occurred, and bone grafting will not correct the issue.

Vertical bone loss in the front teeth: When you have a wide, open, or high smile, the aesthetic appearance of implants can be a disadvantage. A high smile occurs when the gum line is visible. In these cases, implants in the upper arch might expose the metal rod or abutment, taking away from your smile instead of improving it. In these cases, implants can also make the front teeth protrude and appear more prominent.

Have a chronic illness. Living with a condition such as diabetes, osteoporosis, or leukemia could disqualify you from receiving dental implants. Other procedures such as previous radiation treatment to the head or neck can also create a situation where dental implants are not viable. The presence of osteoporosis could make bone grafting unpredictable and high risk, preventing you from receiving implants.

Chronic illnesses often compromise your immune system and can impede the healing process or create other problems with the dental implant surgery.

Genetic tendencies: Some bones or gums are naturally thin or brittle. In this case, you are more prone to bone loss and gum disease, meaning you may not be a good candidate for dental implants.

The use of tobacco. Dental implants involve matching the color of the artificial tooth to your existing teeth to create a seamless smile. Tobacco products stain the enamel of your natural teeth and cause them to change colors over time. You can whiten natural teeth but not implants. The other issue is that implants will discolor at a different rate than your natural teeth creating a noticeable difference if you continue to use tobacco products after the surgery.

Using tobacco could also slow the healing process or create other complications such as infections after dental implant surgery.

Patients who are unwilling to remove temporary teeth. The dental implant procedure is a multi-step process that can take several months to complete. In between each step, the mouth, gums, and bone tissue must heal. In the interim, you will receive temporary replacement teeth that you must remove each night to allow the gums and bone to recover from the surgery. Failing to do this can lead to infection, extend the healing time, and ultimately lead to the failure of the implant.

Final Thoughts

Due to improvements in technology, dental implants have become the preferred treatment to permanently replace missing or damaged teeth. The solution provides natural looking, comfortable tooth replacement, will not move or shift, and requires minimal long-term care similar to your natural teeth.

However, it is not an appropriate solution for every person or every situation. Dr. Hogan will only recommend a specific treatment after a thorough evaluation, X-rays, and a review of your oral health and overall health. Some health conditions increase the risk of implant failure or could make the situation worse. While Dr. Hogan has years of expertise and a high success rate with dental implants, he understands that it is not the only solution available or the best solution for every circumstance.

The best way to determine if dental implants are right for you is to meet with an experienced dentist like Dr. Hogan. He will review your history, the condition of your oral health, and evaluate your needs to customize the right solution for you.

FAQs

  • Are dental implants the best tooth replacement?

    Dental implant technology is superior to alternative treatments because it includes a replacement for the root and the tooth, giving you a permanent solution to tooth loss.

     

  • What are the benefits of dental implants?

    Implants can restore your smile and improve self-confidence. From an oral health perspective it can also prevent gum disease, bone deterioration, and facial sagging.

     

  • When are dental implants not a good choice?

    While implants can solve most issues related to tooth loss, there are times when it is not the best solution. It may not be the most appropriate solution if you have bone deterioration, osteoporosis, or existing gum disease.

Call for an Appointment

If you are ready to explore ways to rejuvenate your smile, or you just need a cleaning and x-rays, call today for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment. Dr. Kevin Hogan graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry and has over 40 years of experience. He completed continuing education at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, a world-renowned comprehensive and aesthetic dentistry center. He has also finished extensive coursework with the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and lectured at both North Carolina and Emory University.

He is known for his artistic skill, professionalism, and ability to find the right solution for an array of dental challenges. Dr. Kevin Hogan is a cosmetic and restorative dentist serving patients in Mt. Pleasant South Carolina and the greater Charleston, SC areas.

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Smiles by Hogan

Cosmetic Dentist – Dr. Kevin Hogan
3405 Salterbeck St.
STE 100
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466

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