Smile, what do you and those around you see? Are you happy with what you see? Dental implants are becoming increasingly common; according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over 3 million people in the United States have dental implants.
Dental implants are a good option for people of all ages, but they are especially beneficial for older adults. Older adults are more likely to have missing or damaged teeth, and they are also more likely to have health conditions that can make it difficult to wear traditional dentures. Dental implants can help older adults to maintain their oral health and quality of life.
Surgery can offer possible solutions if you have a missing tooth that makes it uncomfortable to chew or just don't care for the appearance of your smile.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial roots placed in the jawbone to support replacement teeth. They are made of titanium, a biocompatible metal that fuses with the jawbone over time. Dental implants can be used to replace one or more teeth, and they can be used to support a variety of dental restorations, including crowns, bridges, and dentures.
Why are Dental Implants Used?
Dental implants are a versatile treatment option that can be used to solve various dental problems. They can replace missing teeth, support dental restorations, preserve jawbone structure, and improve facial appearance. Some people choose dental implants for cosmetic reasons. In contrast, others may need them to improve their oral health and quality of life.
Dental implants are used for a variety of reasons, including:
- To replace missing teeth: Dental implants are a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth and can help improve your appearance, speech, and chewing ability.
- To support dental restorations: Dental implants can be used to support a variety of dental restorations, including crowns, bridges, and dentures. This can be a good option for those with missing or damaged teeth or teeth that are too weak to support a traditional dental restoration.
- To preserve jawbone structure: When a tooth is lost, the jawbone beneath the tooth begins to atrophy. Dental implants can help to preserve jawbone structure and prevent the further loss of teeth.
- To improve facial appearance: Dental implants can help to improve facial appearance by filling out the contours of the face and supporting the lips and cheeks.
Composition of Dental Implants
Dental implants are composed of three main parts: the crown, the implant body, and the abutment.
- Crown: The crown is the visible part of the implant that looks and functions like a natural tooth. It is typically made of porcelain or metal.
- Implant body: The implant body is the screw-shaped part of the implant that is inserted into the jawbone. It is made of titanium, a biocompatible metal that fuses with the jawbone over time.
- Abutment: The abutment is the part of the implant that connects the crown to the implant body. It is typically made of titanium or metal alloy.
The dentist will insert the implant body into the jawbone and allow it to heal for several months. Once the implant body has fused with the jawbone, the dentist will attach the abutment and then the crown.
The dental implant allows you to eat, drink, and smile comfortably.
Ideal Candidates for Dental Implants
Complications for this surgery are rare, but they are possible. That's why individuals who desire this procedure must be ideal candidates. The qualifications include:
- Good overall health
- Adequate oral hygiene
- Healthy gums
- Sufficient bone density
- No tobacco usage
Importance of Aftercare for Dental Implants
Many believe that now that they have a brand-new tooth, they won't have additional complications. The truth is following the procedure, regular cleanings are immensely important with dental implants.
The dentist will always ensure the implant is secure and clean, examine it for infections, and check that you aren't feeling any pain or discomfort. Remember how important the cleanings are to your health and smile if you're tempted to cancel those cleanings.
Benefits of Dental Implants for Older Adults
Dental implants offer several benefits for older adults, including:
- Improved oral health: Dental implants can help to improve oral health by preventing the further loss of teeth and preserving jawbone structure.
- Improved appearance: Dental implants can help to improve facial appearance by filling out the contours of the face and supporting the lips and cheeks.
- Improved self-esteem: Dental implants can help to improve self-esteem and quality of life by making it easier to eat, speak, and smile confidently.
If you are considering dental implants, talk to your dentist or periodontist. They can help you determine if dental implants are right for you and can develop a treatment plan that meets your individual needs.
Health Issues in Older Adults Who Ignore Dental Health
Ignoring dental health and failing to get implants in older adults can lead to several complicated health issues, including:
- Malnutrition: Missing or damaged teeth can make eating and chew various foods difficult. This can lead to malnutrition, which can have a number of negative consequences for overall health, including weakness, fatigue, and impaired immune function.
- Digestive problems: Poorly chewed food can irritate the digestive system and lead to problems such as indigestion, heartburn, and constipation.
- Jawbone loss: When a tooth is lost, the jawbone beneath the tooth begins to atrophy. This can lead to a number of problems, including facial collapse, difficulty wearing dentures, and an increased risk of fractures.
- Heart disease and stroke: Studies have shown a link between poor dental health and heart disease and stroke. This is likely because bacteria from the mouth can travel to the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing gum disease and other dental problems. Poor dental health can also make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.
- Pneumonia: People with poor dental health are at an increased risk of developing pneumonia. This is because bacteria from the mouth can travel to the lungs and cause an infection.
Mental Health Issues
In addition to the physical health risks, poor dental health can negatively impact mental health and quality of life. Those with missing or damaged teeth may be self-conscious about their appearance and may avoid social situations. This can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.
Regardless of age, taking care of your dental health is essential. This includes brushing and flossing twice daily, seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, and getting implants if needed. Implants can help you maintain your oral health and quality of life and reduce your risk of developing other health problems.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
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