The issue of missing teeth can cause several problems, both socially and functionally. From embarrassment about one’s appearance to the inability to eat certain foods, replacing missing teeth with dental implants can bring newfound confidence and joy.
Many people commonly refer to dental implants as the full replacement for a missing tooth, however an implant merely replaces the root of the tooth. Very rarely do people just want the implant without a crown attached. The implant is the anchor that goes into the bone where your tooth roots would normally go. This allows us to replace one tooth, many teeth, or even all teeth in some cases. A crown is placed on a single implant. But in the case of replacing all your teeth, a device that has multiple teeth attached to it will screw onto your dental implants, as in All-on-4®, TeethExpress®, or ProArch devices.
Not only do dental implants allow you to replace the tooth with a very cosmetic alternative, they also allow you to function as if the tooth had never been lost. So, in the end, not only do implants allow for attractive teeth to be placed, but the ability to eat and to speak confidently will be excellent. When teeth are removed and not replaced, the patient will experience poor biting efficiency and shifting of teeth, as well as more bone loss due to the lack of a tooth being there.
Dental Implant Options
Dental implant options really depend on what teeth are missing, and how many. A single implant can be used to replace a single tooth, or multiple implants can be used to replace several teeth. In years past, an entire jaw of teeth would be replaced with 10-16 implants. However, we can now do so with only 4-6 implants. As previously mentioned, we normally place one crown on the implant, but with multiple implants, you can place an entire set of teeth if needed. You can even use dental implants to anchor a prosthesis like a prosthetic ear or a prosthetic nose!
What Does the Dental Implant Process Entail?
Having a dental implant placed can happen in many ways. We can plan to place one dental implant to replace one tooth or we can plan to place multiple implants to restore an entire arch. When replacing one tooth with a dental implant, we will usually extract the tooth, place a bone graft and place a dental implant all in the same surgery. Sometimes this cannot all be completed in one surgery. In those cases, we plan to extract a tooth and place a bone graft in the socket in order to preserve that site for future implant placement. After a bone graft is placed in a socket, we allow anywhere from 3-6 months for the bone to heal prior to placing the dental implant.
Once the bone graft heals, the dental implant is placed, and your dentist will then fabricate the crown to fit on top of your new implant. When it is all said and done, you will have a new tooth (or teeth) that are esthetically pleasing and that function just as well as your natural teeth.
For more information on dental implants, contact our team today!