Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants
Dental implants have given back the smiles of a lot of our patients in Beaumont, Texas, over the years. Dr. Joel Smith delivers implant dentistry service with ease and precision, providing his patients with sheer satisfaction from the results. A missing tooth or two may seem harmless, yet more serious problems can arise if they are not addressed properly. Dental implants are one effective way to do so.
If you have a missing tooth or teeth it can be tempting to simply leave the gap, especially if the gap isn’t visible to others. But this is a bad idea as a variety of dental problems can develop from that space in your mouth. The solution is to replace that missing tooth with a dental implant, far and away the best solution for missing teeth. Implants provide a long-lasting solution, often lasting the remainder of the patient’s life. They also function exactly like a natural tooth. When a number of teeth are missing, implants can be used to anchor dentures and bridges.
What are Dental Implants?
A Dental implant is a prosthetic replacement for a missing tooth or a severely damaged tooth that needs to be extracted. The implant is placed down into the socket of the former tooth root and the jawbone grows around and integrates the implant into the jawbone naturally, making the implant and false tooth attached to it behave just like a natural tooth. They are designed to have a strong foundation, which can either be fixed or removable replacement teeth, and are custom-made to match the natural contours and shade of the patient’s teeth.
Why should I replace a missing tooth with an implant?
A missing tooth or teeth can create various problems.
- Teeth need pressure on each side from adjacent teeth otherwise they tend to move. This is what happens with a missing tooth, as the adjacent teeth slide over to fill the gap. This creates problems with your alignment and bite.
- Chewing and biting involve a great deal of energy down into the tooth. This energy is transferred through the tooth down into the jawbone, stimulating the jawbone to continually regenerate new bone mass. This is key to a healthy, strong, jawbone. Without that energy coming down through the tooth, the jawbone in that area begins to deteriorate and resorb.
- Missing teeth can be embarrassing visually, and can also create whistling sounds when pronouncing certain words. And missing molars can create problems with chewing, making the person avoid certain foods, which can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Who is a good candidate for a dental implant?
The most important determining factor with dental implants is jawbone mass and density. As we mentioned above, missing teeth can lead to jawbone deterioration and loss of mass. If the patient has waited a length of time before having a missing tooth or teeth replaced, the jawbone may not have enough mass to adequately hold an implant. In these cases, the patient will need one or more jawbone graft procedures to make it ready for implants.
Otherwise, as long as the patient doesn’t have another dental issue such as gum disease, most people of all ages are good candidates for implants.
How are dental implants placed?
Consultation: The implant process begins with a consultation with Dr. Smith, who performs a full oral exam and takes x-rays and a CT scan to determine your jawbone mass.
Placement: Next the titanium implant is placed into hole formerly occupied by the tooth root. Dr. Smith may have to drill a small hole into the jawbone to prepare it. The implant is shaped like a screw and is inserted in that fashion.
Osseointegration: Now the patient simply waits three to six months as the jawbone naturally grows around and accepts the titanium implant.
Abutment: When the jawbone has fully grown around the implant, a small metal post, called an abutment, is attached to the implant and the gum tissue is allowed to heal for around six weeks.
Placing the crown: The final step is to place a custom-made porcelain crown onto the abutment. The crown is made to match the color and shape of the surrounding teeth so, once placed, it fits in naturally.
The Dental Implant procedure
The dental implant process varies from patient to patient, as Dr. Smith always individualizes his treatment plans. The procedure begins by placing a tooth root implant into the area where there is a missing tooth. The jawbone is allowed to heal for a certain time, which can take six to 12 weeks.
Once the implant has bonded well to the patient’s jawbone, an abutment, or a connector post, is securely placed on the implant, which works by holding the new tooth in place. Dr. Smith will then create impressions of your teeth to make the implant more realistic. Then, a dental crown, which is the replacement tooth, is placed on top of the abutment. You will know more about dental implants and your experience throughout the procedure during your initial consultation with Dr. Smith.
What are the benefits of Dental Implants?
- Dental implants behave exactly like a natural tooth, so the patient can eat any foods and chew normally.
- Unlike bridges, where adjacent “abutment teeth” need to be crowned to anchor the bridge holding the false tooth or teeth, implants stand alone.
- Implants keep adjacent teeth from moving.
- Implants are load-bearing teeth, so you don’t have to avoid chewing or biting with them. Plus, they transfer energy down into the jawbone just as natural teeth do.
- Implants have a 90 to 95% success rate and can last for decades, giving the patient back his or her smile and the ability to eat any foods.
How long do Dental Implants last?
As with your natural teeth, the quality of your home hygiene can dictate how long your implant lasts. But in many cases, an implant can last the remainder of the patient’s life.
Maintenance and Care
Because a dental implant behaves exactly like a natural tooth, your home hygiene is just the same. Daily brushing and flossing are all that’s needed.
Schedule a consultation
If you are interested in dental implants and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (409) 895-0089 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Joel Smith at our office in Beaumont, TX.