Today’s dental implants aren’t just for oral health solutions but for cosmetic solutions as well. According to The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth due to an accident, a failed root canal, tooth decay or gum disease. Additionally, 26% of adults have lost their permanent teeth by the age of 74.
More and more people are finding that restoring a smile to full function with the help of dental implants allows them to chew their favorite foods again, which is not always possible with removable dentures and bridges. Implants do so while supporting facial structure to preserve one’s youthful appearance and by using natural-looking tooth replacements. With a success rate of nearly 98%, this effective combination of functionality and aesthetics makes them the restoration of choice among the demographic known as the “Baby Boomers”.
Born between 1946 and 1964, this group of over 55-year-olds is unusual in that they are financially better off than earlier generations as well as those who will follow them. As the most affluent older generation in U.S. history, baby boomers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the latest in dental technological advances. This demographic not only wants to protect their oral health but they are financially capable of investing in high-quality dental implant restorations.
People who have missing teeth also may have underlying periodontal disease due to bacteria from a chronic gum infection. Left untreated, this infection can travel through the bloodstream affecting vital organs. Gum disease can also make it difficult to eat properly which increases nutritional deficiencies from consuming an unhealthy diet. However, Baby Boomers are typically health conscious and understand maintaining good oral health depends on quality nutrition.
Dental implants essentially replace teeth which are severely damaged or missing. Implants don’t decay and they don’t involve root canals. A single-tooth replacement doesn’t even involve altering the surrounding teeth. The implant is an artificial tooth root that is permanently integrated into the jawbone for maximum support. A small, biocompatible screw (typically titanium) is then inserted into the jaw followed by cementing a crown (the tooth) on top using an abutment. Combined with the proper care and maintenance which most baby boomers are motivated to provide, dental implants are a long-lasting, quality investment.
While every dentist can place dental implants, the majority of dental implants are placed by prosthodontists, periodontists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. When it comes to replacing missing teeth, implants have become widely accepted by both dental practitioners and patients as being superior to bridge work and removable dentures. And baby boomers with periodontal disease or other dental problems that arise as the population grows older, are inclined to use what is considered the most reliable restoration on the market.
With ongoing technological advances, many implant dentists employ 3D images and implant surgical planning software to create an image of a patient’s mouth, identify potential problems, and map out the implant procedure beforehand. Since the bone structure and nerves can be assessed in the planning stages, a dentist can place the implant through the gums instead of beneath it and then attach the artificial tooth once the implant is securely placed.
Consumer-savvy baby boomers are looking for ways to preserve an aesthetically attractive and youthful appearance, and since cosmetic dentistry is an integral part of American culture, dental implants are most often the dental restoration of choice.