Ever since dental implants made their debut back in the 1970s, they have enjoyed growing popularity among people who need to replace missing teeth. Originally only offered to edentulous people--those who have lost all their teeth--today you can get an implant if you are only missing a single tooth. In fact, today dental implants hold their own against dentures, the other top choice for false teeth. It is possible that soon dental implants will pull ahead of dentures due to their natural look and ease of care. If you are trying to decide which of these options is best for you, here are some trends in the dental implant field that just may sway you to choose.
Originally, implants were a "one size fits all" design for patients who needed complete dental reconstruction. Today's implant field boasts 200 brands, produced by 80 manufacturers, made in different shapes and sizes. They are available in differing weights, lengths, and forms. Your dentist can choose the implants that are a perfect fit for you from among 2000 different types!
2. High success rate
Dental implant procedures offer a 95% success rate ten years post-surgery. This makes them the choice with the highest satisfaction rate among patients--higher than removable dentures and even traditional restoration services such as crowns, root canals, and bridges. Patients who opt for implants find that they can live without having to be mindful of what they eat. With zero maintenance except for routine dental cleanings and exams, patients are usually completely satisfied.
3. Technological advances
The huge number of implant choices mentioned above are due to today's superior technology. Computer software helps dentists custom fit implants to patients' mouth size and bone density. Further, 3D technology allows for improved placement in the jaw so as to promote bone integration--which makes for successful implants. In the past, the titanium posts going in the bone were smooth, which sometimes prevented integration of the implants with bone tissue. Today, implants have a porous surface area that facilitates this important bonding.
Baby boomers, America's largest demographic group, are now middle-aged and elderly--but, in the spirit of their generation, they don't want to look like it. People in this age group are overwhelmingly opting for dental implants because of the natural look they promote. Even if implants are necessary, they aren't noticeable. This dynamic is driving acceptance of dental implants by other age groups as well.
Whereas implant training used to be a separate educational venture for dentists who wanted to perform the procedure, it is now standard academic preparation for those in dental school. This means that all dentists are familiar with this alternative to dentures. It also means implants are now more widely available in your community than they used to be.
6. Completion time
The dental implant process used to require two office visits (three, if extractions were necessary prior to temporary fittings) spread over six to nine months. Because of computer software advances, you can now have teeth extracted and permanent implants fitted on the same day.
7. Insurance coverage
Dental implants have not historically been a covered benefit on most insurance policies, but that is changing. Most dental insurance policies now cover some of the cost because implants have proven to be more long lasting than other options for toothless patients.
As you can see, in just about 45 years the market for dental implants has grown astonishingly. A limited number of edentulous patients willing to try something experimental has now grown to millions of adults choosing this natural-looking alternative to dentures. Why hesitate any longer? Talk to your dentist about implants today.