Millions of Americans suffer tooth loss, either from tooth decay, gum disease, or injury. For many years bridges and dentures were the only solution. But now physicians at WVU Hospitals have said that dental implants are becoming a more popular and common remedy.
Elaine Mitchell said she's had problems with her teeth all of her life, and finally reached the point where she had to remove and replace them. She chose dental implants. "The fact that they are permanent, they give you a really good option for replacing teeth that are missing and improving your dental health," said Mitchell.
Dental Implants are replacement tooth roots anchored in your jawbone. They're made of metal and provide a strong foundation for removable or permanent replacement teeth. On the underside of the denture there are little attachments and that's how the implants can be clipped into place. "This is a metal and gold alloy substructure that is screwed to place on those implants that we would then place the prosthetic teeth and pink acrylic for gum tissue. This is screwed in place and it doesn't come out. So you have the option of having something come out or not come out," according to Dr. David Felton, WVU School of Dentistry.
Dental implants look and function like your natural teeth. Plus they improve your ability to speak and chew food, as well as prevent bone. "They give you better control better options when it comes to eating and speaking and those kinds of things," said Mitchell.
There are also other benefits. "For somebody that's lost their teeth the bone is going to disappear over the rest of their life," according to Dr. Felton. "Implants can actually stop that process which is very important."
In general, most dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of dental implants. But coverage under your medical plan may be possible, depending on the cause of your tooth loss. Check with your provider.