If you've ever considered an implant-based restoration, you'll know that much information is available online. While this enables you to read up more about the procedure, you should be aware that the topic also has its fair share of dental implant myths or untruths.
This post takes eight of the most popular myths and exposes untruths. Doing so should allow you to make a better-informed choice.
Let's get started!
A fixed restoration implant or post is typically made from titanium. Firstly because it's strong, light and non-corrosive, but also because it doesn't leave a metallic taste. In addition, the prosthetic teeth or bridges attached to a tooth implant are malodourous, meaning they are also tasteless.
Any taste appearing from the implant is usually down to underlying problems such as peri-implantitis. This is a pathological condition occurring in the tissues surrounding the implant, not the tooth implant itself.
The notion that you may be able to feel a dental implant once it's secured into the jaw is a complete misnomer. Instead, you may feel the sensation of having a tooth where there was once a wide gap. Or the feeling of a fully functioning tooth where there perhaps wasn't before.
In truth, dentists work hard to ensure that each tooth implant is customised for comfort and fit while blending in effortlessly with your existing natural teeth.
The site may be a little tender for a few days after implant surgery, but as soon as the area heals and the implant becomes an active part of the jaw, you shouldn't feel anything.
Talking of surgery, this brings us to #4 of the top eleven dental implant myths.
Understandably, surgery is part of the tooth implant process that most people are concerned about. In truth, they do not need to be worried because most patients don't feel discomfort during the implant surgery, despite being awake.
They feel little, if any, discomfort because most patients will be administered a light sedative that puts them in a state of complete relaxation, and the surgery is quick. Typically, it takes less than an hour to place an implant into the jaw and sometimes less than 20 minutes, depending upon the technology and techniques used. For this reason, most patients don't even realise the surgery has occurred, and most say they feel nothing.
Imagine the inconvenience of going through airport security and setting off the detector as you pass through. You may well do that, but dental implants won't be the reason why. Titanium implants are non-magnetic, so you can safely pass airport security without sounding the alarm.
As far as dental implant myths go, this may be true, but in a good way. Let me explain.
When teeth are missing, particularly multiple teeth, it kickstarts a process known as bone atrophy, a deterioration linked with tooth loss. Bone atrophy causes the jaw to shrink considerably. The jaw can diminish by as much as 50% in the first six months after tooth loss. Inevitably, this will alter the shape and dimensions of the face.
When an implant-supported dental bridge or fixed denture is attached, it provides more significant support to the facial structure; therefore, any sagging or diminishing features will appear fuller. Often, having a complete set of fixed teeth will make patients look younger.
As a nation, we love our sport, and the notion that a dental implant will prevent you from playing the sport you love is strange. In reality, once an implant has firmly anchored within the jaw, it should be as stable as any tooth.
We suggest, however, that you refrain from full contact sports like boxing until bone fusion has occurred (typically 3-4 months), but after this, you should be okay to proceed. We also recommend wearing a good quality mouthguard to protect the teeth, but this should be standard practice.
Even though implants look and feel like natural teeth, the restoration tooth doesn't have any nerves. Moreover, the conductivity of both titanium and zirconia (another material used for implants) is very low, so that any temperature changes won't travel quickly through the material. Therefore, it's safe to say that this one is a dental implant myth and can now be laid to rest.
The bottom line is that age is no barrier to getting dental implants. Instead, it's all about your overall health and how well you respond to treatment. Here at Chesterfield Dentistry, for example, we've fitted tooth implants in patients in their 80's and their 20's and 30's. The only stipulation is that you are over 18. This is because, in younger patients, the jaw is still developing.
So, there you have it – eight dental implant myths busted.
Whether you're an octogenarian or a younger patient, you don't have to put up with missing teeth. Come and talk to Dr Akinwande and her team at Chesterfield Dentistry about how they can help you restore your smile using the latest dental implants.
Call 314-936-3621 or book an appointment today and kickstart your journey towards a better smile and a better you!