Living with one or more missing teeth, or a partial or full dentures, can make you feel self-conscious about your smile. Even more significantly, it can affect your health, causing bite issues, jaw joint problems, and bone loss in the jaw. Dental implants are the best way to avoid these issues and get your smile back.
Generally speaking, if you are missing one or more teeth you are likely a candidate for dental implants.
While most people have heard of dental implants, many don’t completely understand their benefits. That’s why Dr. Black spends time with each of his patients, answering their questions and making sure they understand their treatment options.
Tooth Loss = Bone Loss
When a tooth is lost, a gradual, permanent loss of bone quality in the jaw starts to occur. This leads to some serious aesthetic and functional problems, particularly in people who have lost all of their teeth.
Many people think that permanent loss of bone structure is inevitable and unavoidable. This used to be true, but thanks to recent advancements in dental technology, things have changed!
There is good news!
Even if you’ve suffered bone loss due to missing teeth, you’re still a candidate for dental implants. However, your bone structure may need a bit of help in order to support dental implants. Bone grafts, either when a tooth is removed or before having an implant placed, can help preserve and even re-grow and strengthen your bone structure.
How Dental Implants Work
Because dental implants fuse to the existing bone, they stabilize and prevent further bone loss.
The placement of dental implants initially requires surgery and time to heal. During the surgical procedure, and ideally with the help of powerful 3D imaging technology, a titanium root-shaped implant is placed within the bone.
Healing & Bone Growth
A healing period of 4-6 months follows to allow bone to re-grow and fuse to the implant. After healing, abutments are connected to the implants. Abutments are the part of the restoration that exists between the implant and the final tooth restoration.
Finalizing the Restoration
After your implant has been installed and has been connected to an abutment, the restoration will be completed with a crown, bridge, or denture.
With crowns and bridges, implants are placed without disturbing the healthy teeth next to them. If a full set of dentures is called for, they can have attachments that snap or click it into place on the implants allowing for much greater stability in the denture.
How Implants Differ From Traditional Dentures
Implants are far superior to removable dentures.
Thanks to recent strides in dental technology, dental implants are the closest thing to re-creating your natural teeth.
- Very comfortable after healing is complete
- Virtually undetectable they can be matched to the shape and color of to your remaining teeth
- Provide better chewing ability
- Prevent jaw joint problems
- Stabilize your bone structure
Because dental surgery is involved, implants may be initially more expensive than traditional dentures or fixed bridges. However, implants ultimately save time and money by preventing future health complications. While dentures may have a lower cost up front, they often result in future jaw and gum problems that may be costly to fix.
Taking Care of Your Dental Implants
What type of maintenance do restored implants require? Your implant itself is meant to stay put, fused to the jawbone. The restoration attached to an implant is often removable and replaceable. So if damage or wear necessitates replacement, this can be accomplished without affecting the implant itself
Don’t forget: It’s important to practice good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, to prevent plaque build-up which can lead to problems in the gum area around the implant.
After implants are placed, it is important to continue to see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly. Dentists use specialized instruments to clean dental implants that will not damage the metal surface beneath the gums. Your dentist will also need to monitor your restored implants to ensure their continued stability and function.
Learn More About Dental Implants
Do you want to find out if dental implants are the right choice for you? Dr. Black at Timberhill Dental offers complimentary consultations.
Get in touch with us to schedule your appointment today!