For this blog posting I would like to share a personal story about my dental implant. I am doing this to help people understand exactly how it can help and how great I honestly think dental implants are. Even before I started working in a dental office I would show it off to all my friends. Usually I would have people try to guess which tooth is the implant, as opposed to just pointing it out. People can honestly not tell which tooth is the implant, ever. Can you tell which tooth is the implant in the photo here? A lot of people don’t know what a dental implant is and what it can do for them if they are missing teeth.

A few years ago I lost a tooth near the front of my mouth. I was worried about having a toothless smile and very self conscious of the missing tooth. I was constantly covering my mouth (and half my face) when I would laugh or smile. I noticed this was actually drawing more attention to my mouth, so after a while I tried to stop smiling and laughing all together. Needless to say I wasn’t at my best, sharing a laugh and a smile is kind of a big deal. A smile is the fastest and simplest way to communicate. Laughing is something we all like to do, as well as eating comfortably!

When I discussed my options with my dentist he said I would either need a bridge or an implant. My first question was “Which is the strongest and most durable option for me?” I wanted something permanent as I expect to keep the replacement for life. My dentist told me to go with a dental implant because it would look and feel more natural, you take care of it like you would a natural tooth, and I would be able to eat whatever I wanted. I certainly was not going to use a partial denture (removable prosthesis) that I would need to take out to clean and have to worry about fitting and adjusting. I was in my early twenties at the time and I felt like I was way too young to have something in my mouth that pops in and out; a denture. I was told a bridge was an option too but I didn’t like the idea of having the neighboring teeth reduced to nubs in order to support a bridge, this involves three teeth to fix just one.

I knew the dental implant was going to cost a little more than the bridge or partial denture but I was more worried about how it would function and how long it would last. I honestly don’t feel that you can really put a price on replacing a tooth. A dental implant is exactly that, replacing a tooth. If you really stop to think about the whole concept of replacing a part of your body which you lost, it’s pretty amazing! For me the dental implant felt like an upgrade to the tooth it replaced. I’m grateful that a dental implant was an option for me. I couldn’t imagine not having a tooth or having to go with a bridge, I was told by my dentist that a bridge could actually harm the neighboring teeth because it uses them as anchors.

Good health is important to us all, sometimes it takes a loss (like the loss of a tooth) to get someone into action. I wasn’t about to get down and beat myself up for having lost the tooth. I was going to get it replaced and take better care of my oral health so that I could eat, laugh, and smile, and so I wouldn’t lose any more teeth of course. If you are missing any teeth please don’t let it bum you out, do something about it!

Dental implants are not exactly a one size fits all solution, as everyone’s body and situation is different. Because of this the time it takes to place a dental implant can vary. I’ve had a lot of different types of dental work in my life and I can tell you that this is not painful and not scary. Most dental insurance plans don’t really cover dental implants although they may help with some of the procedures necessary before and after the actual implant. In my case the dental insurance I had at the time did not help so I had to finance the procedure myself. I was able to pay it off in one year at zero interest with CareCredit. That was by far the best investment in my health I have ever accomplished.

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