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Why Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a small post made of titanium that our surgeons can install directly into the bone of your jaw. This post acts as the root of a false tooth. They come in many shapes and sizes, and our dentists can help you to find the perfect solution. The false teeth that can connect with the implants come in many varieties, including crowns, dentures, and fixed bridges. These options offer different benefits, depending on your needs and what your oral goals are. Implants can improve the health of your mouth over time, and can even restore functionality that you may not have been able to achieve even before your procedure. From appearance to oral health, there are a wide variety of benefits that implants can offer that no other appliance can.
Who could benefit from implants?Over time, your teeth endure a lot of wear and tear. Even those who take immaculate care of their natural teeth may find themselves struggling over time. Many things can cause tooth loss. Arguably the most common reason we lose our teeth is simply bad oral hygiene. Not taking care of your teeth leads to a lot of damage, infection, and decay very quickly. This includes getting to your regular dental checkups.
If you fall behind or stop going, you can do much damage because there are areas that we can reach and clean in our office that you may have difficulty accessing, if you can access them at all. Poor nutrition can lead to both of these reasons for tooth loss, as diets rich in sugar or low in calcium can cause decay. You can also lose them the classic way, with a good old traumatic accident, or as you know it, knocking out your tooth. Bear in mind also that losing one tooth and not getting it taken care of right away can easily lead to bone loss, meaning you are at risk of losing even more teeth.
If you have suffered any of the problems above and lost a tooth as a result, you may be able to benefit from dental implants. Any of these problems can cause a lot more damage if left untreated.
Dangers of Leaving Gaps Where Teeth Once WereNo matter the reason that you lost your teeth, replacing them is a big deal and essential to the upkeep of your oral health. If you leave these gaps, you may find yourself dealing with much worse problems than you started off with. First and foremost, when you lose a tooth, your jaw bone loses strength almost instantly. Over time, the bone begins to diminish in the area where the tooth once sat. This is called bone resorption or bone loss. This not only means that you may experience discomfort in the area, but it makes a difference in the stability of your other teeth and your overall appearance.
Your other teeth may begin to shift if you leave a gap, as they tip into the space that it leaves. They may also become loose over time. This is because as the bone in the area starts diminishing, it begins to affect the surrounding teeth as well. Your cheeks may appear sunken without a substitute in the area and can give you an older appearance. Finally, this bone loss can make it increasingly difficult as time goes on to perform restorative procedures. Without sufficient bone density, many procedures become more difficult, as we have to perform a bone graft. This also makes things a bit more expensive for you and lengthens any process that we have to undertake by several months.
Outside of the realm of bone loss, not getting a dental implant can mean that your food options are limited (some foods can cause damage where the tooth is missing), and can cause you to develop a lisp or other speech impediment when your tongue expects to find resistance, and there is none. Missing teeth leave pockets behind where the tooth sockets are. These pockets are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria living in plaque, tartar, and calculus that can thrive around your teeth. This can lead to decay in other teeth and gum disease in the pockets as well as surrounding areas. Bacteria can also cause further issues and illness in your body.
How do dental implants remedy these problems?There are many benefits to having dental implants installed. For starters, these are permanent solutions where most other options are merely temporary. Most commonly, you will have probably heard of dentures, or maybe bridges. These are often removable options that may fill in the gap but can cause a unique variety of problems. They may give you a cosmetic enhancement as the gap is gone and a tooth has filled it in. However, it often looks unnatural and can cause further bone loss since they sit on the surface of your gums rather than fusing with your jaw the way that implants do. Implants can solve every single one of the above-listed problems effortlessly. Let's start from the top and do this respectively. For starters, let's address bone loss. Bone loss occurs when there is nothing in the jaw socket to keep stimulating the bone as you chew.
Dentures do not solve this problem (in fact, they often make it worse) because they do not touch your actual jawbone whatsoever. Because implants fuse wholly with your bone, they continue to rub against your jaw every time you chew anything. This influences your jaws growth protein output, and it continues striving to heal and grow where it would otherwise quit. This means that the gap area is fixed, and the teeth around it are safer as well! This is also financially a better option than removable dentures or bridges, which may have to be replaced in as soon as two years if they become damaged due to general wear and tear. Implants, though, can last up to a lifetime if well taken care of.
This means it is a one-time price and you get everything you need. The appliances that we secure to your implants may have to be replaced if they become damaged, but have an average life of at least 10 to 15 years. Because implants work the same way as the root of a natural tooth, only stronger, you are not limited concerning food or drink in the same way that you might be with standard dentures. These pieces will not budge whereas a denture may slip or slide uncomfortably, or even fall out!
The way that they fuse with your jawbone allows them to remain stable and strong, even years after you got them. These devices also fill the pockets left over from the missing tooth where nasty substances tend to collect. This means that the area is cleaned before your surgery, and the area filled so that it cannot return to the same place. This leads to a healthier tooth, healthier adjacent teeth, and a healthier overall body. Your chances of getting periodontal disease or tooth decay drop when that risk is absolved.
Where do I begin?The process for getting this revolutionary mouth piece is relatively simple. However, the first thing that we need to do is make sure that you have a proper bone density, otherwise, your implant could be rejected or could cause worse damage to your mouth than you had already sustained. Once we have determined your bone density, we will determine whether or not a bone graft would be in your best interest.
Bone GraftingBone grafting is also a relatively simple procedure, but if you can avoid this step and you get your missing tooth replaced very quickly after it is extracted or lost, you can take months off the timeline of your procedure. If we have determined that you do in fact need a bone graft, we will begin by helping you decide which option best suits your needs. Bone grafts come from three main sources overall:
During the procedure, you will be given a local or general anesthetic, based entirely on what you would like and what makes you the most comfortable. Then, we will make an incision in your gum line to access the bone beneath it. Once we have determined the area and amount of bone we need, we will transplant the precise amount straight to the area. Then, we will cover this site with a material to help act as a catalyst to the healing and bone regrowth process. Then, we seal up the area and let it heal. This is a great asset that we can use to enhance your oral health and the process of providing you with amazing new dental implants. However, it is even better to be able to avoid this process as it can add months onto your implant procedure. It has to heal and fully bond, meaning a longer process.
No Bone Graft? No ProblemIf you do not need a bone graft and can get right into the process, then you are even better off! When it comes to getting your actual implants in, you will come in, and we will administer a local or general anesthetic, similar to the bone graft, or any other surgical dental procedure. Then, we will make an incision in your gums where the socket of your old tooth is. This will give us a clear access point with which we can insert and secure the post. This post will then be sealed up and left to heal for a few months.
This takes anywhere from four to seven months depending on the patient and their individual case. When you leave our office that day, you will leave with a temporary crown or bridge in place to fill the gap and to protect the healing implant. However, you will come back later when you are all healed up so that we can place the permanent piece. It is a lengthy process, but worth it.
Are there any more benefits I should be aware of?In fact, while implants do restore your mouth to a great state, they also have cosmetic benefits as well! Implants, first off, are the most natural looking restorative procedure that you can experience. Dentures often look incredibly false, as they are porcelain on a pink plastic base. Implants utilize the strength of your gums and jaw to make a brand-new tooth that looks as beautiful as your natural teeth. Because they help with bone growth and fill in the gaps left behind by your missing tooth, they give you an almost automatic face-lift in the process.
Your cheeks and smile regain their natural, youthful appearance rather than looking sunken in and uncomfortable. You also will never have to worry about embarrassing slippage from your implant in the way that you would a denture. Your implant will not fall out, slide and cause discomfort, nor will it cause you to gag. Once the process is over, the tooth (or teeth) looks completely natural and healthy.
Excellent Dental Specialists want you looking and feeling your best for a long time to come. No matter where you go in life, you can be sure that your implant will loyally stick through it all. Give us a call today at (210) 598-8933 to see how a dental implant may be able to help you.