As Americans and other populations have developed, lifespans have lengthened. From 1960 onward, life expectancy has grown beyond any time earlier in man’s development. Since losing teeth can be a part of aging, an ever-increasing group of adults have become edentulism sufferers. Many have lost at least one tooth and others many more teeth. They quickly learn of the many disadvantages that come with tooth loss.
In modern dentistry, dentists seek to bring patients back to normal functioning, with aspects such as comfort, tooth contour, appearance, speaking and general health and well-being in mind. If teeth are suffering from decay and require replacement, in the past there were fewer options. With the advent of implant dentistry, dentists now have the ability to bring back function and appearance of teeth as if the patient’s tooth difficulties, gum atrophy or periodontal disease or lost teeth have not occurred.
The greater number of teeth a patient has lost, however, the more difficult it is to complete such transformations. Yet, thanks to a growing body of research, improved diagnostic capabilities and tools, better ability to form treatment plans, better and more creative implant designs, techniques and substances, successful procedures are possible in most cases. Patients tooth and oral function can be realized even in some of the most difficult clinical situations.
This good news has allowed patients in greater numbers to more often make the choice to obtain affordable dental implants. Dental implants across the US have grown remarkably since the 1983 to 2000 timeframe – as much as tenfold. The numbers continue to grow today, with implant dentistry becoming a far more important clinical field.
More than a million implant procedures are now completed annually with the industry in North America experiencing an annual rate of growth that is in the range of 10 to 15 percentage points. This is expected to continue for the next decade, growing even more.
Greater than nine of surgical specialty dentists now offer dental implants routinely in the clinic. Nine out of 10 prosthodontists provide restorations using implants and eight out of 10 general dentists insert implants, both removable prostheses, and fixed appliances. Only six out of ten practitioners did implants less than 20 years ago.
Reasons behind the growing numbers of implants include some of the following factors:
Increased human lifespan
Aging and tooth loss
Prosthesis difficulties or failure
Consequences of lost teeth
Removable prostheses ill-fitting or bad function
Psychological effects of lost teeth
Better results of implant prostheses over time
Generally better function of implant restorations
Patients are more open to and aware of implants
As many patients age, tooth loss becomes more prevalent. In the long ago past, ancient figures such as Alexander the Great achieved glory and fame by their feats of war as just a teenager when the average lifespan was only a little more than 20 years of age.
A human from that period would be surprised to see people of today A person of that era would be shocked to see people active today with the growing lifespans enjoyed. A person of 65 in 1965 (the average lifespan then) would also be shocked by the 80 years a person could live in 1990. And the life expectancy of a normal non-smoking person today can reach into their 80s.
In economic terms, it is now a good bet for a patient in his 70s to spend enough to have implants that will easily last the rest of his life and function like normal, given teeth. Dentists are responding to such patients and now are providing care that will increase these patients’ quality of life. Each new patient with implants now can enjoy the many benefits and advantages of implants can make.
What are dental implants and how they work?
A dental implant device is comprised of a titanium post which then holds a crown. The procedure is usually done in a two-stage process. First, the clinician places the implant into the bone and allows it to heal. The dentist later puts the crown onto the post to allow your bite flawless and toothlike performance. After a while, the titanium post integrates into the bone through a biological process known as osseointegration, helping the implant last for life.
In some cases, patients may lack enough bone to allow for implants to be placed without additional treatment. If a bone graft is required, the dentist will use either actual bone or may decide upon a substitute. In some cases, a bone graft is attached to provide enough bone density for implants. Some patients can be fitted with smaller implants or angled implants to ensure enough bone is available to support them where the bone has been lost previously.
How do they look and feel?
Dental implants are much like normal teeth and provide solid and stable function. Implants have the look and fit that are characteristics of a normal tooth. The perform better than dentures or bridges which can cause eventual bone deterioration and sometimes may hinder eating, speaking and other activities of everyday life. If you have lost teeth, the advantages of dental implants may include achieving the former appearance of your natural teeth and provide better function. Our clinicians have expert knowledge and experience and can work with you achieve the goal of returning you to your previous dental health.
Financial arrangements available
Most insurance plans are accepted at our practice. Help with financing arrangements can be provided by our staff and we sometimes can provide information on third-party lenders to assist patients. We also can provide payment plans and specials are found on our website for implant procedures on a recurring basis.