We have all gone through the phase of losing our milk teeth when we were growing up. While missing teeth may be very adorable for young children, that is certainly not the case for adults or seniors. Missing teeth can cause some awkward social and professional situations and can also affect a person’s confidence or self-esteem. Fortunately, dental implants are an option that those with a missing tooth or two can consider, not only to restore their smile to perfection, but also to be able to chew on harder foods without worry. Read on for everything you must know about dental implants before committing to a life-changing dental procedure.
What are dental implants?
This is going to sound scary, but dental implants are special types of titanium screws that are inserted into your gum, acting as a root for a new artificial tooth. The artificial tooth, also known as a crown, which is made of ceramic or metal, is attached onto this screw, hence filling in the gap of a missing natural tooth, not only restoring your beautiful smile, but also allowing you to chew on harder foods once more.
Are dental implants for me?
Dental implants are suitable for people who are missing one or two teeth, be it because of age or accidents. However, the suitability also depends on other factors, such as your general health and your oral health. Although dental implants restore your smile to perfection, they are more than just a cosmetic treatment. Dental implants not only look and feel just like your natural teeth, they are also equally strong. This characteristic of dental implants makes it a good option for those who want to regain their ability to enjoy any kind of food without pain or worry.
What are the different types of dental implants?
There are two main types of dental implants, namely traditional dental implants, and mini dental implants. Both are made of titanium and function as a root for the artificial tooth to be attached on top of it. Both can also prevent oral bone loss caused by tooth loss. However, mini dental implants are – as its name suggests – smaller than traditional implants and typically cost less because the procedure is slightly less complex than those involving traditional dental implants. The less invasive procedure also means that less healing time is required.
Despite their clear advantages, mini dental implants are not always a suitable option. Their smaller size means that they are used in areas that are too small or narrow for a traditional dental implant to fit. They are used to fill a narrow gap towards the front of the mouth, such as to replace a missing front tooth or incisor. Conversely, traditional implants, which are bigger, are used to fill bigger gaps at the back of the mouth, and are best suited for replacing molars, which are larger in size.
Is it painful as it sounds?
A dental implant procedure is one of the more complicated sorts of dental surgery. As such, some pain should be expected. Thankfully, the pain is usually minimal and can be classified only as a mild discomfort that is tolerable for most patients. There are also some patients who experience no discomfort or pain because of the surgery because of the local anaesthesia that is administered before the procedure, so patients feel only a numbness and not pain. After the surgery, some patients may experience soreness in the gums around the area of the implant. This can be easily remedied with pain medication, which your dentist can both advise on and administer.
What are some risks that come from a dental implant procedure?
In a very small number of cases, the pain after the surgery worsens because of certain complications. This can include infection, tooth damage, nerve damage, implant rejection and allergies to the materials used in the implant. While these potential complications are risks to keep in mind, they are usually minor in nature and can be easily treated by your dentist.
Is special care required for dental implants?
No. Dental implants can be cared for in the same way as you would care for your natural teeth. Good oral health practices such as brushing your teeth twice a day and after meals and flossing regularly can be continued as per normal. You can also rinse your mouth using antibacterial mouthwash, which is recommended to prevent any bacterial infections from taking hold.
Will it be obvious that I have dental implants?
No, dental implants look the same as your natural teeth. Furthermore, the artificial tooth will also be as strong as natural teeth because the implant is screwed into your mouth. This means that you can continue to enjoy biting and chewing on your food as you did with your natural teeth, so even those around you at mealtimes would not be able to tell that you had a dental implant surgery.
How much do dental implants cost in Singapore?
As with many more complex dental treatments, dental implants can cost a fair amount. Patients should budget a minimum of $4,000 for a standard procedure, with costs rising to well over $6,000 for certain more complicated individual cases. Dental implant treatments are Medisave claimable for up to a limit of $1250 per dental implant, so those eligible can have their costs lowered significantly. Your dentist should be able to provide a cost estimate for your specific case after a quick consultation.
Although the upfront cost is high, one must not take it solely at face value. Dental implants are expensive for good reasons. Firstly, they cause no damage to adjacent teeth, which makes it a significant advantage over alternative treatments such as dental bridges. They are also strong enough to allow you to chew on hard food as you would with your natural teeth. Moreover, dental implants are also semi-permanent fixtures that can last many years if proper care is taken, meaning that while your initial cost is high, the overall benefit of the treatment in the long run still makes this one of the best options for those who want to replace their missing teeth.
Dental implant procedures are among the more expensive and permanent dental treatments available. As such, a decision to proceed with one should not be taken lightly, despite the many benefits that a successful procedure can bring. It is best to set up a consultation session with your dentist, so that an assessment for your suitability can be conducted, and a recommendation based on your unique case can be made. Those who do decide to go ahead with a dental implant procedure can expect a restored ability to chew on food that is harder. That lone will no doubt bring a perfect and radiant smile to your face.