If you’re like most people, you probably focus on the cosmetic consequences of missing teeth. While it is certainly true that gaps in your smile can change your appearance, there are also serious dental health issues to consider.
Each of your natural teeth is anchored directly within the underlying jaw bone. When you bite down and chew, you stimulate that bone tissue, keeping it healthy and strong.
Losing a tooth means also losing the stimulation to that area of bone. Over time, the bone tissue can begin to wear away through a process called resorption. That can weaken the connection between surrounding teeth and bone, causing additional tooth loss.
Missing teeth can also limit the type of foods you can comfortably eat. Limiting your diet can cause nutritional deficiencies that can threaten overall health and wellness. Some people also find it hard to speak normally due to missing teeth, an issue that can limit your social and professional interactions.
Dental implants are a permanent option for restoring one or more missing teeth. They consist of a post portion that is placed with the bone to act as an artificial “root” and a crown portion that replaces the visible portion of your natural tooth.
Some implant products use a small connector called an abutment to attach the post to the crown. Other implant types allow those components to connect directly.
Because dental implants are anchored directly into your jaw bone, they function just like your natural teeth. The exception is that your implant will never decay.
You can have a single dental implant to replace just one missing tooth or several implants in various areas of your smile. An option for people who are missing all of their natural teeth is called All-on-4Ⓡ, which is a system that permanently secures a full span up upper or lower teeth using just four implanted posts.
Implant-supported dentures are another option. Like All-on-4, this approach replaces a full span of missing teeth, but the false teeth can be removed for cleaning and dental hygiene routines.
The planning stage is arguably the most important part of the process. Your practitioner gathers X-rays and digital impressions to learn more about your teeth and bone structure and plan the precise placement of the implant posts.
Your practitioner creates an incision in your gums to access the underlying bone. A small pilot hole is drilled to guide the post positioning. Once the post is in place, your gums are closed and a period of healing begins. You might receive a temporary crown to wear until the permanent one is ready.
Once your bone has fully fused to the post material, you’ll return to have the crown attached. This completes the implant procedure, and your implant will function just like your natural teeth.
To explore dental implants in more detail, call the office today or schedule an appointment online.