Dental Implants: History, How They Work, Candidacy Requirements, and More!

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diagram of the parts of a dental implant

Dental implants have forever changed the field of dentistry, offering a reliable and aesthetically pleasing solution for individuals with missing teeth. These tiny screws function as artificial tooth roots upon which a dental prosthetic (like dentures, bridges, and crowns) can securely attach. This means that tooth implants can permanently restore your smile after tooth loss.

Don’t leave tooth loss untreated. Be proactive. Get the restorative care your smile deserves with the crew at Lakewood Dental Group. Contact our dentists in Dallas, TX, today by calling (214) 827-1885 now.

Today’s blog dives into the world of dental implants. Here, we provide you with a comprehensive understanding of their history, how they work, and their benefits compared to other tooth replacement options. We also reveal essential information about candidacy, longevity, procedure duration, cost, risks, and proper care.

A Brief History of Dental Implants

The concept of dental implants dates back thousands of years, with evidence of early attempts found in ancient civilizations. Ancient Egyptians used shells and ivory to replace missing teeth, while the Mayans utilized carved stones and seashells. However, it was not until the 20th century that dental implant technology began to advance significantly.

In the 1950s, a Swedish surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Brånemark unintentionally discovered the process of osseointegration. He found that biocompatible metal (like titanium) could merge with bone tissue (osseointegrate), effectively becoming a part of the skeletal system. This breakthrough paved the way for modern dental implants. 

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are false tooth roots. Usually, they consist of biocompatible materials, like titanium alloy or zirconia. Dentists can surgically insert these false tooth roots into the jawbone to support prosthetic teeth. 

How do tooth implants work? 

Dental implants work through a process called osseointegration. During the implant procedure, a dentist or oral surgeon surgically places the false tooth roots into the jawbone. Over time, the surrounding bone fuses with the implant, creating a strong and stable connection. 

Once the osseointegration process is complete, a dentist can attach an abutment piece to the implant. The abutment acts like a connector between the implant and the restoration (i.e. crown, bridge, or dentures).

Am I a suitable candidate for dental implants?

Most individuals with good oral health and sufficient bone density are suitable candidates for tooth implants. However, a thorough evaluation by a dental professional is necessary to determine your eligibility. 

Here are factors that you and your dentist should consider before seeking implants:

  • Gum health
  • Overall health
  • Jaw bone density
  • The presence of any underlying conditions, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders 

In some cases, patients may need to seek additional procedures (such as bone grafting or gum treatments) to enhance the success of dental implant placement.

How long do tooth implants last? 

As with most medical procedures, proper aftercare and maintenance are essential to the lifespan of tooth implants. Subsequently, with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. This means that they are a highly durable and remarkably long-lasting tooth replacement option for most patients.

Is the dental implant procedure painful? 

The dental implant procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, which ensures minimal discomfort during the surgery. After the surgery, however, it is common to experience moderate swelling, soreness, and mild discomfort. Luckily, patients can usually manage this with over-the-counter pain medications. 

How long does the dental implant procedure take? 

In general, the process can take several months to complete. This timeline includes:

  • The initial consultation
  • Implant placement surgery
  • The healing period for osseointegration
  • The attachment of the prosthetic teeth

Each phase requires careful planning and assessment to ensure the success and longevity of the implants.

Are dental implants expensive?

While dental implants may initially seem more expensive than other tooth replacement options, their longevity and effectiveness make them a cost-effective choice in the long run. The cost of dental implants can vary depending on factors such as:

  • The number of implants needed
  • Any additional procedures required
  • The location
  • The expertise of the dental professional performing the procedure 

What are the benefits of implants compared to other tooth replacement options? 

Tooth implants offer numerous advantages compared to other tooth replacement options. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Improved aesthetics: Dental implants provide a natural-looking and seamless smile.
  • Enhanced chewing ability: Implants function like natural teeth, allowing you to bite and chew comfortably.
  • Preservation of jawbone density: Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss and maintaining facial structure.
  • Prevention of adjacent tooth movement: Implants provide stability, preventing neighboring teeth from shifting.
  • Longevity: With proper care, dental implants can last the rest of your life, eliminating the need for frequent replacements.
  • Increased confidence: Dental implants restore your smile and boost your self-esteem, enabling you to speak, eat, and socialize with confidence.

Are there any risks or complications associated with implants? 

Like any surgical procedure, dental implants may carry some risks and potential complications. However, these risks are relatively rare and can be minimized through proper planning with experienced dental professionals

Potential risks may include

  • Infection
  • Damage to surrounding structures
  • Nerve injury
  • Implant failure
  • Gum recession

Adhering to post-operative care instructions, maintaining good oral hygiene, and scheduling regular dental check-ups can help mitigate these risks. 

How do I care for tooth implants? 

Caring for implants is similar to caring for natural teeth. Proper oral hygiene practices are key to the health and lifespan of tooth implants. This includes regular brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing daily, and using antimicrobial mouthwash as recommended by your dentist.

Additionally, patients should schedule regular dental check-ups to monitor the condition of their implants and address any potential issues. It is also important to avoid habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol, as they can affect the health and longevity of your implants.

Dental Implant Surgery in Dallas, TX

Tooth implants provide a reliable and aesthetically pleasing solution for individuals with missing teeth. If you are considering tooth implants, it is crucial to consult with a qualified dental professional who can evaluate your specific case. The team at Lakewood Dental Group can help verify your candidacy with a comprehensive dental exam in Dallas, TX. Schedule your consultation online, or call our clinic at (214) 827-1885 to get started now!