Losing teeth is a part of everyone’s childhood. With each baby tooth that’s lost, a child gets one more magical visit from the Tooth Fairy, and eventually, a new tooth takes it’s place. Because that’s the oral development we’re used to, the thought of missing a tooth isn’t a big deal to most of us.
But what really happens when your adult tooth falls out or has to be pulled without a new tooth to take it’s place? If it’s a back molar, surely it’s not a big deal… or is it? Actually, it can turn into a very big deal.
Your healthiest smile is one where all your natural teeth are present. Your teeth are brilliantly designed to help keep food particles from being stuck near the gumline. They support each other just by their close proximity to each other.
But when a tooth is gone, leaving a big, empty space in your mouth, you then become more vulnerable to oral health problems such as gum disease and jaw bone resorption, which compromises the integrity of your facial structure, among other things.
What, then, can you do? Luckily, thanks to advances in dental technology, you now have a durable, natural-looking option called the dental implant. Today’s blog talks about what dental implants are and what makes them such a powerful tooth replacement option.
Dental Implants Defined
When it comes to tooth replacement, dental implants are sweeping the field of dentistry as a long-lasting, effective dental solution. An implant is like an artificial root for your new tooth. It’s a titanium post that we gently place into the jawbone. Then, it fuses with your jaw and gives you a stable, secure foundation for your replaced tooth.
An abutment is attached to the implant and is then covered by a custom-made tooth that perfectly matches your other healthy teeth. Soon, you’re able to resume the quality of life you used to enjoy and can eat and smile with renewed confidence. It also helps reduce your risk of the oral health issues we mentioned before.
At Restorative & Implants Dentistry, with the help of cutting edge technology, like cone beam CT scanning and 3D X-rays, we can place a dental implant with precision and accuracy. We also offer a variety of dental implant options so patients can choose a treatment plan that best suits their needs and goals.
Dental Implants Are A Multi-Purpose Solution
Yes, dental implants do provide a cosmetic fix to the appearance of your smile. You fill the unsightly gaps left there by a knocked out or extracted tooth. But they also serve another function.
Like we said before, one of the risks of tooth loss is the bone loss that can often result. When an empty space in your mouth is never filled, your jaw bone can deteriorate over time. Without a strong, healthy bone to support your teeth and jaw, you can then be at risk for losing even more teeth in the years to come.
Dental implants help your jaw bone by giving it something to cling to so the rest of your teeth are adequately supported and the functionality of those teeth remains intact.
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
Since your jawbone continues to grow and change into your teens, dental implants aren’t an appropriate option for teens or children. If a dental implant were to be placed in a bone that’s still growing, it would then shift around as the person grew, rendering it entirely ineffective.
But that’s not to say that dental implants are the best option for all adults just because the jawbone is finished growing. In order to qualify as a good candidate for dental implants, you first have to have enough healthy bone that can adequately support the implant itself. It must have enough strong bone surrounding it to properly attach itself to, otherwise you risk your dental implant becoming loose, shifting, or worse, falling out altogether. Whether or not you can get a dental implant partly depends on the quality of your bone that lies beneath where your tooth used to be.
Another issue that must be considered is whether or not your sinuses will allow room for the placement. Since sinus membranes drop to the area near your jawbone, having sinuses that come down too close can make placement too difficult.
Hope For Patients Who Have Low Bone Mass
Fortunately, there are procedures that can help those who don’t have enough healthy bone mass or whose sinuses come too close to the jawbone. At Restorative & Implant Dentistry, we give you options such as:
Bone Grafts – This takes healthy bone from one part of your jaw and placing it into the area where the insufficient bone lies. It stimulates new bone growth and increases mass to maximize the likelihood of a successful placement.
Ridge Augmentation – If you’ve suffered an injury resulting in tooth loss, it can deform the jawbone. This procedure helps to repair and restore the deformed bone to get it ready for implant placement.
Sinus Lifts – This procedure works best for those who need upper arch implants but lack enough bone mass by gently bringing up part of your upper jawbone into the sinus cavity and filling the open area with a bone substance to stimulate new growth.