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Dental implants

Dental implants replace both the visible portion of the tooth and its root.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Dental implants are prosthetics that replace missing teeth. The dental implant restores both the visible portion of the tooth and its root. Dental implants are more common than you might think. 69 percent of adults between 35 and 44 years old have lost at least one permanent tooth. 26 percent of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth by the age of 74.

Dental implants are basically the next best thing to having your tooth back.

What It's Good For

Dental implants can replace one or many missing teeth—both the visible portion you see when you smile and the less visible root which anchors your tooth in to your gums. They can also prevent further bone erosion.

Who it works for: Dental implants are an excellent option for individuals missing a single tooth, many teeth, or who use dentures. The artificial teeth are compatible with human bone and tissue, so as they meld with the existing structures of the mouth, they are secure and look natural.

In order to be accepted for dental implants, you will be evaluated for healthy gums, bone structure, and general good oral hygiene.

Recommended age range: Dental implants are placed into the jawbone, so the procedure shouldn't be performed until after adolescence, when the bone is fully grown. This helps prevent your dental implants from shifting.

When will I see results?: Once the prosthetics are implanted, you'll be able to enjoy your new, gapless smile immediately. Your jaw and the surrounding area can appear bruised or swollen for the next four months (for teeth on the lower jaw) and six to nine months for the upper. The dental implants may take an average of three to six months to heal thoroughly.

How long it lasts: Implants can last a lifetime when properly cared for. Over a five-year period after the initial surgery, dental implants have a success rate of 95 percent for the lower jaw and 90 percent for the upper. (The upper jaw is slightly less dense than the lower jaw, which means it is a bit less likely to heal properly around an implant.)

Key benefits of dental implants: Dental implants can replace teeth without affecting the neighboring ones with intrusive crowns and bridges. Dental implants also prevent healthy teeth from being damaged by bridges.

Dental implants can increase chewing function and your ability to speak (for some, missing teeth can cause a lisp or other speech impairments). While a dental implant needs to be brushed and cared for just like natural teeth, it cannot develop cavities.

Did you know?: 69% of adults between 35 and 44-years old have lost at least one permanent tooth. 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth by the age of 74.

Who's Done It?

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has admitted to getting dental implants. And rap superstar Lil Wayne reportedly received several new dental implants during a visit to the chair.

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