Are you missing teeth? Nothing to be ashamed of: almost 14% of adults aged 65 or over have lost more of their teeth.
1. Cheaper implants
For patients who wish to replace their prosthesis with something fixed or non-removable, the All-on-4 implant is a popular choice. This gives people who are missing all of their teeth in at least one jaw the opportunity to have dental implants. With the All-on-4, four implants are drilled into the oral arch and anchored to the bone. Then, a complete fixed prosthesis or a bridge is screwed into the implant heads. Anchoring dentures in place allows you to eat, drink, smile, laugh and shout without worrying about your teeth slipping out like some traditional dentures. “All-on-4 implants are less invasive and less expensive than traditional implants and are a step up from having a removable denture in the mouth,” says dentist Rob Raimondi, co-founder of One Manhattan Dental.
2. Ceramic implants
For years, titanium implants have been the gold standard of dental implants. “But over the past 12 years, we’ve started using metal-free alternatives,” says Joe Willardsen, a Las Vegas-based cosmetic dentist with True Dentistry. These ceramic materials may be a particularly attractive option for patients with titanium or metal hypersensitivity. But their benefits are broader than that, says Willardsen; they can be healthier options for your gums and also more aesthetic. “You don’t get visible gray metal through the gum tissue,” he explains. “It can happen with a traditional implant.”
3. New options for damaged jaws
In the past, a lack of bone could prevent patients from getting dental implants. But new technology has overcome this problem. “Nowadays we take donor bone, cadaver bone or even bovine bone, and graft it into place using almost like a titanium cage to hold it in place and let it fuse with your existing bone to gain more height and more substance,” says Willardsen. This allows enough bone to place an implant.
4. Faster healing after dental surgery
After dental surgery, such as the placement of implants, your mouth has a lot of healing to do. Some surgeons now inject a patient’s platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the site they are working on to aid healing. So, a surgeon will numb you, draw blood, spin it in a centrifuge in the lab to extract the PRP cells, and then inject it into your mouth. “The theory is that mixing the bone graft together or injecting it into the area will help it heal faster,” Raimondi says. Research is still conflicting as to whether it benefits the healing process, but “some patients have excellent results,” he adds.