If you’re missing a tooth, or if one of your existing teeth suffers significant damage, you’ll need to think about finding a replacement. Historically, there have been limited options available for replacing or repairing missing and damaged teeth, with dentures being the primary choice for those seeking some form of restoration. Other adults have simply managed with gaps in their smiles.
Increasingly though, we are seeing adults favoring dental implants, the permanent teeth replacements that look and function just like normal teeth. What is it about dental implants that’s making them so much more popular? And are dental implants the right choice for you?
Availability and Promotion
These days, it’s relatively easy to get dental implants. Dental institutions all over the country, from dental implants in Denver North to New York City, are offering this service. Though dental implants have been around for many years, it’s still a relatively new dental technology, and only recently have dentist been aggressively pushing it as the artificial tooth alternative of choice.
In other words, historically, there haven’t been many good options for replacing missing teeth. The fact that any option is available and convenient is enough to draw more people in.
Superiority Over Dentures
We should also compare dental implants to their close counterparts: dentures. When most people think about artificial teeth, they think of dentures, but dentures look and function very differently. While a dental implant is permanently implanted into your jawbone, your dentures are fixed to your gums with a temporary adhesive.
For the most part, dental implants are the superior option, and for many different reasons:
- Fit and feel. Because dental implants are designed to look and feel just like your real teeth, most people find they fit perfectly. Dentures, by contrast, even if fitted to your mouth, can sometimes feel awkward and unnatural.
- Functionality. Dentures and dental implants are both designed to help you eat food and speak normally, but dentures still have some limitations. There are some foods you may struggle to eat, and you may struggle to speak if you don’t like the feel of the dentures in your mouth.
- Maintenance and upkeep. Denture care is annoying and exhausting. Every day, you’ll need to clean and soak your dentures. You’ll also need to remove them after meals and brush them. But with dental implants, maintenance is easy – you just have to keep up your routine dental care.
- Long-term cost-effectiveness. Dental implants and dentures may be expensive initially, but dental implants are more cost-efficient in the long term. You’ll spend far less on maintenance and upkeep, and you’ll only have to pay for the procedure once.
- Permanence. Some people prefer dental implants over dentures because of their apparent permanent nature. While sets of dentures can last for many years, and in some cases decades, if cared for properly, they still feel like a temporary solution. Because dental implants are installed directly into your bone, they become a physical part of you, and because they look and function just like real teeth, they feel like they’ve always been there. After a couple of weeks, you may forget that you even have a dental implant in place – and you can keep it forever.
Dental implants may also be getting more popular because they are increasingly being covered by dental insurance policies. The cost of a single dental implant, out of pocket, can be more than $1,000. Now that insurance companies are stepping up in paying for this procedure, at least in part, more people are pursuing it as an alternative.
An Aging Population
While many times the need for dentures is due to injuries such as facial fractures, another reason is people are living longer. Adults have much longer lifespans, but they start facing the complications of aging in their 50s and 60s. If you crack or lose a tooth in your 50s, you may still have 30 years of life left or more. That’s a long time to be messing with dentures on a daily basis, so this cohort of adults typically prefers a more permanent and comfortable solution.
Word of Mouth
We also need to acknowledge the impact that word of mouth can have on a phenomenon like this. When an adult discovers that dental implants are relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain, and comfortable, they want to share that information with the people around them. As popularity builds, these conversations become even more frequent and more prominent, fostering even further popularity.
The value and functionality of dental implants are the main drivers of their current popularity, but there are many other factors to consider as well. Make sure you ask your dentist if you have any questions. In any case, we can likely expect dental implants to continue growing in popularity over time.