When you have a missing tooth or a tooth which needs to be extracted, we may recommend a dental implant to you. But what is a dental implant and what do they do?
Dental implants are replacement options for a single or multiple missing teeth. The dental implant replaces the tooth root with a “screw-like” post. This root replacement can then be used as an anchor to replace one or multiple missing teeth using a single crown, a bridge or a hybrid denture.
Dental implants offer a replacement to conventional dental bridges which require work and drilling to be done to neighbouring teeth of a missing space. Dental implants can also be used as a replacement to partial or complete dentures which can be loose and not fitting well.
Why is it important to replace a missing tooth?
One important job that our teeth do is that they act as place holders in our jaw. The pressure that a tooth puts on the jaw bone, helps keep the bone strong. Once a tooth is gone, the first thing that can happen is loss of jaw bone where the tooth used to be. This affects the neighbouring teeth, the bone loss can advance to the tooth in front and behind the empty tooth area and can cause gum recession as well. Over time these teeth can become loose and compromised, and would need to be extracted as well.
Also the more teeth we lose the more force we experience on our remaining teeth, which can wear them down faster and cause issues which can lead to their failure as well.
What are the advantages of a dental implant?
Dental implants offer a solution for a missing tooth without damaging the neighbouring teeth as a conventional bridge would. Also since the implant is placed in the jaw bone it helps preserve the bone around it, prevents gum recession and prevents neighbouring teeth from being affected too; these teeth will not move into the empty space or lose gum and bone around them.
Who is a candidate for dental implants?
Almost everyone is a candidate to receive dental implants. Before placing a dental implant your general health will be evaluated, and some necessary x-rays should be taken. Some conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes and heavy smoking are known to decrease the success rate of implants in the short and long term.
What is the procedure of placing an implant?
Usually dental implants are done in two stages. First stage involves the placement of the dental implant in the jaw bone. We usually wait for about 3-4 months after this initial stage for the implant to fully fuse (integrate) with your jaw bone. After 3-4 month we test the stability of the dental implant and construct a crown to be attached to the implant and replace the missing tooth.
What can be done with the missing tooth area while the implant fuses to the bone?
You may not like the feeling or appearance of a missing tooth for 3-4 month while we have to wait for the implant to fuse. There are options! Depending on the location of the implant and its stability we may be able to fit a temporary crown on top of your implant the same day that the implant is placed. Also there are options of temporary dentures or retainers which would fill the empty area with a tooth so your missing tooth will not be noticeable when you speak or smile.
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Dental implants are the newest method of replacing missing teeth, with the best long term prognosis and stability. If you have any questions regarding your candidacy for receiving dental implants feel free to reach out to our office anytime.
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