Missing teeth can greatly impact your self-esteem and appearance. There are many options to replace missing teeth, but the best is a dental implant. If you have missing teeth and aren't sure if a dental implant is the right choice for you, check out these six important facts.

They've Been Around a While

Dental implants are not a new concept. In fact, even the ancient Mayans and Egyptians used seashells, gold, ivory, and precious stones to replace their missing teeth. However, it wasn't until 1952 when modern dental implants became a possibility thanks to an accidental discovery by a Swedish professor. By the 1970s, dental implants started to be used in people who were missing teeth but couldn't tolerate dentures.

They Work Because Titanium Can Fuse to Bone

The accidental discovery that Swedish professor discovered was osseointegration, or that titanium fuses to bone. This incredible discovery is what makes dental implants work. Your natural healthy teeth don't just sit inside your jawbone, they are connected to the jawbone. This gives them a stable hold that can withstand chewing. Because titanium works like healthy bone, they create a durable solution for missing teeth. 

You Need Healthy Gums and a Healthy Jawbone

Dental implants have a high success rate, but they can fail, especially if you have bad gums or a diminished jawbone from bad oral hygiene or gum disease. If you do have gum disease, you'll need to reverse it or get it under control before the implant. Even if you have a healthy mouth, you may have a diminished jawbone due to having missing teeth for so long. If this is the case, the dentist will need to perform a bone graft. The dentist will take bone from another part of your mouth/body or use synthetic bone to rebuild the jawbone.

Implants Have Many Benefits Over Dental Bridges and Dentures

Implants have many advantages over dental bridges and dentures, but the two biggest benefits are that they offer more stability and they stimulate your jawbone. Dentures are the least stable option because they just sit on the surface of your gums. Dental bridges offer more stability, but they rely on the surrounding teeth to support them, which puts a lot of strain on those teeth. Thanks to osseointegration, dental implants are the most stable option. Implants are also better because they stimulate your jawbone, which prevents it from shrinking. Bridges and dentures allow your jawbone to continue to shrink, which can affect the entire shape of your face.

They Are Expensive but Last a Long Time

Dental implants have a lot of benefits, which is why they have such a high cost. A single implant will cost you about $4,250. A dental bridge is much cheaper at $500 to $1,200 per tooth, and traditional dentures range from $600 to $8,000. However, dental implants are a great investment in your smile. With proper care, a dental implant may actually last the rest of your life.

Good Oral Hygiene Is Still Important

Even if you get all your teeth replaced with dental implants, you still need to have good oral hygiene habits. A dental implant can't actually decay, but failing to keep the gums around the implant clean can lead to a build-up of plaque and bacteria. This irritates the gums, which may lead to gum disease around the implant, increasing the chance of implant failure.

Dental implants are an expensive option, but they are also the most durable, making them worth the cost. If you are tired of missing teeth, do something to get the smile you've always wanted. Contact a dentist at offices like All About Smiles in your area to learn more.