Dental ImplantsBurtonsville, MD
If you are missing teeth, dental implants can be an effective long-term solution. Perhaps no dental condition is more troubling for a smile than losing teeth. This can have both a cosmetic and oral health impact on you. Having gaps in the mouth can be embarrassing and may even cause you to avoid being around other people. Tooth loss can have physical effects.
The good news is that you do not have to live with this condition. A cosmetic dentist can offer options to correct tooth loss with replacement teeth. You are probably familiar with treatments such as dentures and bridges. However, implants, in many ways, are even more effective.
If you have lost one tooth or have multiple missing teeth, call our office today to discuss whether dental implants are right for you.
A description of dental implants
The aesthetics of a smile have long been important to people. Missing even one tooth can affect a person’s appearance. Implants are available to resolve these concerns. In addition, implants can restore the mouth to its full function, making it possible for the person to eat most foods again.
Dental implants consist of three parts: a screwlike titanium post, an abutment, and a natural-looking crown. The post replaces the tooth root by sitting deep in the jawbone. The abutment is a smaller piece that connects the post to the crown. The dentist can make the crown to be any color, shape, and size.
How tooth loss occurs
Teeth consist of a soft dentin layer and a harder layer known as enamel. The enamel is the hardest substance in the body, even more so than bone. However, various conditions can cause teeth to chip, crack, break, or even fall out. Some of these are due to external factors, while others are because of poor oral hygiene on the person’s part. The following are the most common ways in which teeth fall out:
- A lack of brushing or flossing, or ineffective brushing and flossing
- Eating a diet high in sugar and starches
- Hard blows to the face
- Face-first collisions such as in a car accident or bike accident
- Biting into a hard food
- Using teeth as a tool to open bags or packages
When a person does not brush or floss well, decay and disease can ensue. Without treatment, tooth decay can rot teeth. Gum disease and infections can destroy tissue and eventually reach the root of a tooth. The most serious infections and disease can spread to other parts of the mouth and into the face and rest of the body.
The need for strong bone growth
Dental implants rely heavily on sufficient jawbone growth. The posts need to sit deep in the bone to provide stability and strength for the crown. This provides a strong bite force and the ability for the person to chew well. When there is enough bone, the dentist can move forward with implant surgery. However, if the person has suffered bone loss, the dentist will need to do a bone-graft surgery.
A bone graft gives the implant enough of a base. To do a graft, the dentist may use bone from another part of the body, such as from the roof of the mouth. Another option is to use animal bone. Some dentists prefer to do a synthetic bone graft. Whichever method is the choice, the dentist will graft the bone into the jaw to build it up enough for the implant.
After the surgery, the patient will undergo a period of healing. This could take several months. However, some patients only need a small amount of bone. In this case, the implant surgery could begin in a few weeks or even immediately.
Consultation and preparation
If the patient does not need a bone graft, the dentist will skip this surgery. But before beginning, the dentist and patient will meet to discuss the procedure. The dentist explains what will happen during each step and what the benefits and drawbacks of the process are. The patient can express any concerns and ask questions during this time.
Once the dentist and patient feel good about this direction, preparation begins. The dentist will examine the patient to determine if any other remaining teeth need extraction. The dentist will take X-rays and make impressions of the mouth. This will allow the dentist to create a treatment plan and make the crowns.
Placing the post
At the first surgery, the patient will come to the office and get comfortable in the dental chair. The dentist will numb the patient with a local anesthetic. Once it takes effect, the dentist will make an incision in the patient’s gums. Next, the dentist drives the posts into the jawbone. After stitching the incision wound, the dentist gives the patient instructions on care. The patient then spends the next few months healing and allowing the bone and post to fuse.
Placing the abutment
The abutment attaches to the post and connects to the crown. To place it, the dentist must once again cut into the gums, exposing the top of the post. The dentist secures the abutment to the post and closes the incision wound. A temporary crown goes on the abutment while the patient heals for another several weeks.
Placing the crown
Lastly, the patient returns to complete the process of getting dental implants. The crown will be ready, and it should be the right color and shape. However, the dentist will check to ensure that it is a comfortable fit. The dentist will also check the patient’s bite with the new crown.
Dental implants effectively replace missing teeth. Their natural look makes it virtually impossible to detect that the crown is not an actual tooth. Implants are stable and will not slip or fall out as dentures tend to do. Implants can last for up to 30 years or more. Many patients will have implants for the rest of their life.
Regain the full use of your mouth and an attractive smile
Tooth loss does not have to be permanent. Dental implants can successfully restore your smile and help you feel good about your appearance. You can also enjoy eating a normal diet once more. Call your cosmetic dentist today to find out if implants are right for you.
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