What happens when you lose an adult tooth? More and more people get dental implants every year because they are much more stable than other methods of replacing teeth. Getting implants is as close as you can get to having your natural teeth back.
What Are My Options for Replacing Missing Teeth?
In the past, dentists routinely used crowns and bridges to replace missing teeth. Dental crowns are made by grinding down the top of a damaged tooth and bonding a porcelain cap to it. A bridge (as you can see from the diagram) uses two crowns on either side of the gap to hold a suspended false tooth.
Another alternative is dentures, which can be less expensive but can slip or feel unnatural and awkward.
A dental implant is different because it fits securely into the jaw. Because of this, it will look and feel more like your natural tooth. An implant fixture replaces the root of the missing tooth and then a crown is placed on top. As you can see from this diagram, it is not necessary to have neighboring teeth ground down.
When Should I Get a Dental Implant?
It can be important to replace missing teeth promptly to avoid long-term effects. When your teeth fall out (or are extracted), your body senses the loss and begins to dissolve away the bone that supported that tooth. Over ten or twenty years, if enough teeth are missing, you will experience facial collapse. Dental implants help prevent this.
How Does the Dental Implant Procedure Work?
There are two steps—surgery and prosthesis.
- The fixture, or root form, is set into the bone. It typically takes some healing time before the root form can support a replacement tooth. The length of this integration process depends on the patient’s bone density and can vary from several weeks to several months. Recent technological advancements keep shortening this recovery time.
- Your new tooth is finished when the dentist places a crown on the fixture. The result looks natural and can accommodate your normal eating and teeth cleaning activities. Unlike a bridge, you will not need special flossing tools.
Dr. Theriot does both of these steps. He is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and has completed post-graduate training at the Misch International Implant Institutes. He is trained to do both the surgery and the prosthetic restoration. As a result, patients do not need to see an oral surgeon. Not only does that make it more convenient for you, it eliminates the chances of one possible difficulty in implant treatment—the possibility of mis-communication between the surgeon and the restorative dentist.
Are There Disadvantages to Dental Implants?
Dental implants are not for everyone. You must be in good oral and general health to tolerate the surgery. Dental implants can require additional visits and may be more expensive than bridges or dentures. We have built a reputation for being mindful and caring when it comes to treatment options. We’ll be sure to explain to you the pros and cons of your various treatment options and fully honor your choices.
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