Is a dental implant procedure right for you? Missing teeth can affect the appearance of your smile, keeping you from living life to your fullest. However, when you have missing teeth, you also put your oral health at risk. The gaps of your missing teeth not only interfere with your smile but also cause your remaining teeth to shift. Healthy teeth support each other, keeping your teeth in place. Once you lose a tooth, the integrity of that support is lost. When teeth shift, you can encounter all kinds of issues including plaque buildup, gum infections/disease, loosening teeth, and even further tooth loss. The bone surrounding your lost tooth can also begin to deteriorate.
While there are many options for tooth replacement, they don’t provide the natural look, feel and integrity of your own teeth. Bridges and dentures help avoid shifting, but can’t address the potential issue of bone loss. However, there is one tooth replacement option that provides the exact look and function of your natural teeth: Dental Implants. They offer a true permanent solution for a natural look that also prevents bone loss. If you have decided dental implants are your best option, here’s what you can expect from your dental implant procedure.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants offer both an artificial tooth replacement and an artificial root. As a result, your tooth replacements help you maintain the same oral health and bone integrity as healthy, natural teeth. The difference between dental implants and dentures or bridges is the insertion of posts directly into your bone. Once the titanium posts are inserted into the jawbone, they offer the same stable foundation for your replacement teeth as your own tooth roots provide your natural teeth. They look natural while mimicking the feel and bite of your natural teeth.
What Is Involved In Dental Implant Procedures?
Dental implants include three components:
- Fixture: This is the post itself, and the one element of the implants that is physically inserted into your jawbone. It acts as your new tooth root.
- Abutment: This is an extender used to connect your new tooth to your posts. It is basically a small screw inserted above the gum line. In some cases, the fixture and abutment are inserted in one step. However, it is most common to allow for healing and the posts to integrate with the jawbone before the abutment is inserted.
- Prosthesis: This is your actual artificial tooth. It is crafted to look, feel, and act like your real teeth. It is made of either porcelain or ceramic and is screwed or cemented to your abutment.
All the elements of your dental implants are strong and durable, designed to last a lifetime with proper care.
1. Oral Health: The First Step For Dental Implants
At your initial consultation, we ensure you are a good candidate for dental implants. If you have gum disease or a weakening jawbone, implants will not work for you. However, we can first provide treatment for gum disease to bring your oral health up to snuff. From there, we can proceed with your dental implant procedure.
2. Insertion Of Dental Implant Posts
Following your initial consultation and/or completion of gum disease treatment, we will schedule an appointment to insert your dental implant posts. As mentioned, the posts used to affix your artificial teeth are made of titanium. The titanium fuses to your jawbone just like your own dental roots.
At this procedure, we will ensure you remain comfortable throughout your appointment. An insertion is made in your gums at the site of the missing tooth. This allows us to access your jawbone. The posts are carefully inserted, and the incisions are closed with stitches. Following your procedure, it takes several months for your mouth to heal and your posts to fuse to the bone.
3. Your Teeth Are Crafted
As your inserts have time to heal, we will be creating your replacement teeth. Providing photos of your original teeth can help in the crafting process so we can best match their appearance as closely as possible. Your teeth are crafted using Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC) Crowns. We first create a 3D impression of your mouth and then the system creates your replacement teeth. Once crafted we take special care to add the finishing touches for a perfect match including customizing the colour and glaze.
4. Attaching Abutments
Once your posts are fused and your insertions have healed, it is time to attach the abutment. As mentioned, this connects your implants to your replacement teeth. The tiny screws are attached firmly to keep your new permanent replacement tooth in place. Depending on the location of your missing tooth your new tooth is either screwed or glued into place.
5. Caring For Your Dental Implants
This is one of the most important steps in your dental implant procedure. Because dental implants are placed in the jawbone, your new artificial replacement teeth require the same attention and care as your natural teeth. You can brush and floss as always to keep your implants healthy. You also require annual dental checkups to maintain excellent oral health. At your checkups we will also make sure your implants are still well fitted and that your bite is comfortable.
Why Choose Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the only true permanent choice for tooth replacement. As a result, they offer far more benefits including the strongest, most natural bite available. They are also the only tooth replacement option that will provide stimulation to the jawbone, promoting bone health and preventing bone deterioration. Of course, there is also that unbeatable natural look for a perfect smile!
Why Do I Need To Replace Missing Teeth?
We’ve briefly explained the issues missing teeth cause. There are a few more issues to consider:
- Missing teeth can cause difficulty eating and speaking
- Shifting teeth lead to crooked teeth
- Shifting is painful
- Shifting leads to damaging bite issues
- Occlusal trauma can also occur
Although they cost more than other tooth replacement options, the permanence, appearance, and ability to stimulate the jawbone make dental implants the best option.