More people are looking to dental implant surgery to replace missing teeth. It’s natural to have questions before visiting with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS). Questions can include: “Does insurance cover dental implants?” and “Are dental implants safe?”
Dental implant surgery should be performed by an OMS, the surgical specialist of the dental profession. OMSs are the most qualified because of their ability to perform sedation and their extensive knowledge of the face, mouth and jaw. The risks of this outpatient surgery are minimal for a procedure that can greatly improve a patient’s overall oral health. Those interested in dental implants should first be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine if they are good candidates for the procedure. Typically, patients who are able to have routine dental work are viable candidates for implants. When performed by an OMS, dental implants have an overall success rate of about 95 percent, and they function very similarly to normal teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants
For many patients, the primary benefit of dental implants is a cosmetic one: replacing missing teeth. Being able to have a uniform smile might point patients toward dental implants, but there are a number of health and life benefits as well:
- Dental implants fuse to the jawbone to provide the stability of a natural tooth and reduce the risk of bone loss.
- Implants eliminate the day-to-day frustrations that can accompany dentures.
- Compared to a fixed bridge, there is no need to cut down or shape adjacent teeth.
- Implants allow patients to enjoy a varied diet without worrying about the dietary restrictions dentures bring.
Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a safe and long-lasting solution to missing teeth, whether they replace one, several or all of a person’s teeth. Young, old or middle-aged, most patients are viable candidates – growing children are the only real exception, as their teeth and jawbones are still developing.
Even people with health concerns may benefit from dental implants. An OMS has significant training in medical and dental conditions that can affect dental implants. Medical and dental problems (including bone loss) that used to be barriers for treatment can now often be managed with successful results.
Any medical conditions should be thoroughly discussed with an oral surgeon in the planning stages of dental implants.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Every patient is unique, and it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of dental implants with healthcare professionals. As long-lasting replacements for missing teeth, implants can offer health, cosmetic and lifestyle benefits, and their cost can be manageable. Consult an OMS to get started planning for dental implants and to discuss any potential risks.