Tooth loss is a serious event that has a significant impact on every aspect of your life and Dental Implants can help. Even losing just one tooth has major consequences. One of the most obvious effects of tooth loss is the impact the event has on the quality of your smile. Simple functions like eating and speaking become more difficult. Below the gums, tooth loss also affects the health of your jawbone. Without your teeth, the bone begins to grow weak and change shape, which can then lead to other issues. Replacing your missing teeth is essential for restoring your oral health and the quality of your smile.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants are a modern solution for tooth loss, providing an alternative to bridges and dentures. While they are the latest option, they are also the most popular. Dental implants consist of three major parts.
- A titanium post: The actual implant itself is a small titanium post that requires a surgical procedure to be inserted directly into your jaw. As you heal from surgery, your natural bone fuses to the post, a process known as osseointegration, essentially incorporating it into your jaw. Once you have fully healed, it is then used to provide stable support for your replacement tooth.
- An abutment: The abutment is a small connector that is placed on the exposed end of the titanium post. The abutment connects the tooth to the implant and provides the false tooth with stability.
- A crown: The crown is what replaces the visible portion of your missing tooth, restoring your abilities to eat and speak, as well as restoring your smile. Crowns are typically made from ceramic, which mimics many of the properties of natural tooth enamel, including its color and the way in which it reflects light.
TREATMENT FOR A VARIETY OF SITUATIONS
Dental implants are a very versatile treatment and can be used whether you have lost just one tooth, you are missing several teeth, or you have lost all of your teeth. There are dental implants to meet just about every need.
- Single tooth implants. One post supports one crown, replacing a single lost tooth.
- Multiple tooth implants. One or more posts support two or more crowns, replacing several consecutive missing teeth. This type of implant is also commonly called an implant supported bridge.
- Implant supported a denture. This restoration uses 4 to 8 posts to support an entire arch of replacement teeth. It is used when you have lost all of the teeth in a single arch.
- All-on-4® Treatment Concept, also known as "Teeth in a day". This treatment is used when your remaining teeth in an arch are decimated and have a poor long term outcome. This treatment relies on only four dental implants posts, which are strategically placed into your jaw to make the most of the bone mass you have left.
Teeth in a day implies that teeth are removed, implants surgically placed and a prosthesis placed all in the same day. There are several appointments before “the big day” to be able to provide that type of treatment. Also, there are other appointments to create the final prosthesis after the implants have fully healed in the jaw bone. The goal of this procedure is providing patients with the appearance such that they leave the office with the appearance that they have teeth the same day they have had all the other remaining teeth removed.
WHAT BENEFITS DO DENTAL IMPLANTS OFFER?
Dental implants offer an immense number of benefits. They can replace missing teeth without involving other adjacent, otherwise healthy teeth.
- They restore the basic functions of your mouth, giving you back your abilities to eat your favorite foods and speak properly.
- The crowns look just like your natural teeth, restoring your beautiful smile.
- They are more comfortable than dentures. Instead of resting on your gums, the crowns are supported by the titanium posts, which get their support from the bone in your jaw.
- They are permanent. The teeth are screwed into place.
- They are easier to care for and can be brushed and flossed just like your natural teeth.
- The posts stimulate the bone in your jaw just like the roots of your natural teeth. This stops and prevents the bone loss that follows tooth loss. Dental implants are the only replacement option that has this benefit.
DRAWBACKS TO DENTAL IMPLANTS
While dental implants offer a vast number of benefits, they do have a few drawbacks as well.
- They require a surgical procedure in order to place the posts.
- After surgery, there may be a lengthy recovery period, which can last up to several months.
- They cost more than bridges and dentures.
- If you do not properly care for your implants, gum disease can occur, which can lead to implant failure.
- If the bone in your jaw is not sufficient enough to support the posts, you may require an additional surgical procedure known as a bone graft before you can undergo implant surgery.
When you lose teeth, whether it is just one tooth or many teeth, replacing those teeth can be essential. Call the Westwood Family Dentistry today to schedule your consultation and find out if dental implants are right for you!