Missing teeth are hard to deal with, not only on a functional level, but on a cosmetic level too. If you are missing one or more teeth, it can have an impact on the way you talk, smile, and chew, eventually impacting your entire life. In fact, many people become isolated or even depressed as a result of their missing teeth. While there are options, such as bridges and Crowns to replace missing teeth, they are not as valuable as the dental implant. In fact, the dental implant is the only tooth restoration that mimics the function of a real tooth, thanks to the titanium screw that acts like your tooth’s roots.
THE WAYS DENTAL IMPLANTS ARE USED
Dental implants are obviously used to replace missing teeth, but they can be used for a variety of reasons:
- Keep bone levels stable to prevent premature aging of the face.
- Hold dentures in place, otherwise known as overdentures.
- Give you adequate use of a tooth, despite your natural tooth being missing.
- Hold a space in your mouth for a missing tooth to prevent a misaligned bite or overcrowding.
WHO CAN GET A DENTAL IMPLANT?
Unfortunately, at our office there are some patients that we have to tell that they are not a good candidate for dental implants. This does not mean the diagnosis is forever; sometimes a procedure or two is necessary before a patient can be a candidate. In general, we need patients that have adequate gum and bone tissue that is in good condition for candidates for dental implants. The good news is that you have already experienced bone or gum tissue loss, you can have grafting procedures that bulk the area back up, making you a candidate for dental implants once it is complete.
THE DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE
Dental implant surgery is an in-depth procedure that requires multiple appointments and many months of healing. In the end, the process is well worth it as it gives you a beautiful tooth with full function once again.
At your first appointment, we will assess your mouth to ensure that you are a good candidate for the implants. If we determine that your bones and gums are in good enough condition to support the implant, we will set you up with the first surgical appointment. At this appointment, the specialist will gain access to the jawbone by opening up your gums. The implant is then surgically placed into the bone and the area is closed with stitches. These stitches will remain in your mouth for the next 7-10 days as the mouth heals. After that time, the surgeon will remove the stitches, but still allow your mouth to heal for a period of several months.
After we determine that your mouth is completely healed, we will set you up for the second appointment. At this appointment the post is placed in the implant. This post is what holds the dental crown or overdenture that will eventually be placed on the implant. This post is typically a zirconium abutment as it is the sturdiest choice for implants.
Once the post has integrated, it is time to place the crown. Before we can do this, however, we will need to take impressions of the area. These impressions are then sent to our lab where a custom crown is made. If you are opting for overdentures, we will have the dentures made to fit your mouth as well as match the color and shape of the rest of your mouth. Once your crown or denture is created, we will place it over the post, permanently cementing it into place. You are then left with a beautiful, functional tooth that looks just like the rest of your teeth.
HOW TO CARE FOR THE DENTAL IMPLANT
Caring for dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth. You must properly brush and floss them at least twice a day. It is imperative that you never skip these steps, however, because if periodontal disease were to set in below the gum line, your dental implants could prematurely fail. In addition, you could be at risk for advanced gum disease, which could cause bone loss and even more difficulties with your dental implants down the road.
Just as you would care for your regular teeth, watch your oral hygiene and your diet. Do not consume excessively chewy, sugary, or crunchy foods as they will leave debris behind that turns into bacteria, which eventually causes infection in your mouth. If you want to keep your dental implants looking good for many years to come, keep up with your regular dental appointments and ensure proper oral hygiene at home.
Dental implants are a viable option for tooth replacement. If you are missing teeth or at risk of losing teeth, consider the benefits of this replacement and call us today! We can help you obtain dental implants even if you are not a good candidate right away. Consult with us so that we can help you achieve the straight, white, functional smile that you desire today!