How Does Aging Affect the Mouth?
According to Harvard Health, older adults suffer higher rates of gum disease, dental decay, oral cancer, and mouth infections. Gum disease is particularly common among older adults, affecting about 70% of adults 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth decay and loss of natural teeth.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are tiny posts placed surgically into the jawbone where teeth are missing. Usually made of titanium, these little anchors act as substitutes for your natural tooth roots. They bond with your bone to create a strong foundation for a replacement tooth or bridge.
Implants provide the foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth – allowing patients to eat normally again and smile with confidence. Consequently, they can be game changers for people who have lost or damaged teeth due to gum disease or tooth decay.
What are the Benefits?
Dental implants provide protection from further bone deterioration and they can last a lifetime with proper care. They also offer more stability and comfort than removable dentures, and they don’t require any shaping or cutting of the healthy teeth next to the missing or damaged tooth.
What is the Procedure Like?
Dental implant surgery is performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. In the past, it required three visits to complete the process – a first visit to place the implant in the jawbone, a second visit three to six months later to attach a small post (or abutment), and a third visit to complete the tooth restoration.
However, recent advances in dental implant technology now allow oral health care providers to perform the first two steps – the implant and the post – at the same time. Called a “single stage” implant, this procedure can cut months off your treatment time. Following the surgery, you will only need around six weeks of healing time before your artificial tooth can be placed.