REPLACING MISSING TEETH
We all want to feel good and look good. Good health and a good appearance are important to just about everyone. Our mouth is a major focal point of how we feel and look – particularly the teeth. If the teeth are healthy, it’s easier to keep the rest of the body healthy. If the teeth look good, you feel good about yourself.
But what happens when you lose a tooth? The resulting gap affects your bite, how you talk and what you are able to eat. The rest of the teeth have to carry a greater load, and that tends to increase wear and might possibly lead to premature damage or loss. Continuing in that direction can cause headaches, jaw pain, or other worse problems.
We at Desert Valley Oral Surgery believe that you want and deserve to enjoy good health and a good appearance. We see how, when teeth go missing, the jaw deteriorates as a natural consequence. In the first year following tooth loss people tend to lose 25% of their supporting jawbone structure. The longer implant replacement is delayed, the more complex the process becomes in the passage of time. The best time to address tooth loss is when the teeth are first extracted.
Fortunately, implants fit and function just like your regular teeth. They help your body maintain its normal bone structure, benefiting not only your oral health but your overall appearance. You don’t have to give up eating foods you enjoy, because the implants are just like natural teeth.
Your dentist and the implant surgeon can easily discuss options to help you make the best informed decision about tooth replacement – to put you in the driver’s seat on your own health the looks.
TOOTH REPLACEMENT OPTIONS
Modern dental technology offers a selection of options to select from in order to replace missing teeth, both short-term and near permanent solutions.
Dental implants benefit any person who is missing one or more teeth, or does not like his or her dentures. This procedure is suitable for people of any age. You will want to consult with your dentist or oral surgeon about the impact of smoking, certain diseases such as diabetes or radiation therapy might have on successful implants, since these sometimes have lowered the success rate of implant placement. With the help of x-rays, the oral surgeon can evaluate whether your jaw can accommodate implants. Such x-rays may also be used to decide whether other tests or procedures might be needed to place implants correctly.
A set of replacement teeth connected together is called a fixed bridge. The surgeon cements this into position over the teeth on either side of the empty space for support after first removing or grinding down the outer layer of these teeth.
A “flipper” is an inexpensive and temporary solution, although somewhat fragile. It consists of a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer.
A removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic provides a less fragile option. Wire clips hold it in place. The patient can remove and reinsert this “removable partial denture” as needed.
When a person is missing all teeth in one or both jaws, complete endures present the most common solution. Denture can work well for some people who can adapt, while others find them to be uncomfortable or even unbearable because of differences in jaw shape and size.
The longest lasting and most comfortable solution is dental implants. The strong foundation they give teeth keeps the jaw healthy and strong. Implants replace individual teeth and can secure specialized dentures in place without harming healthy teeth, as happens with bridges. Further, implants can last a lifetime, which cannot be said of most bridges. The results of implant-supported replacement teeth are an attractive smile, stable health and comfort for almost any patient.
WHY CHOOSE DENTAL IMPLANTS OVER OTHER TYPES OF RESTORATIONS?
Most people want to solve a problem – especially a problem affecting health and appearance – with a permanent solution. Whereas a dental bridge can jeopardize the structure of the good teeth that surround it in order to bridge the space of the missing tooth or teeth, and implant has no negative effect on other teeth. In fact, it is as though the original healthy tooth is still there. The implant will not wear out over time, as a dental bridge might.
Beyond that, with implants, you don’t need to remove anything at night as with a denture or a partial, and the implant will never slip and embarrass you while you are eating.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
A natural tooth is made up of a root and a crown. Implant-supported replacement teeth, like natural teeth, also consist of a root and a crown. The crown is the visible part of the tooth, and the root anchors the crown into the jaw. The implant differs from the natural root of the tooth in that it is made of titanium, the same hard, light and corrosion resistant material used for artificial joints.
To replace the tooth, the surgeon starts with a small implant to take on some of the function of the root. After the bone has had time to heal and grow around this implant, it bonds with the titanium and provides a super-strong foundation for the new tooth. The surgeon then places an abutment, or support post on the implant and a new crown on the abutment. Quite often a temporary replacement goes on to the implant immediately after the root implant is placed.
In cases in which all teeth are missing, multiple treatment options allow work to support the replacement teeth.
“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”
For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My dentist told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.
Desert Valley Oral Surgery utilizes the latest advances in dental implant technology to provide single-stage implants. No second procedure to uncover the implants is needed, and after a minimum of six weeks of healing time the permanent artificial teeth can be placed. In fact, in many situations we can place the implant in the same procedure as the tooth extraction, saving you time, money and bother.
The process of dental implant placement works as a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Desert Valley Oral Surgery performs the tooth extractions, the implant surgery, and any necessary bone grafting. Your own personal dentist acts as the restorative dentist to fit and make the permanent prosthesis, and would also make any temporary teeth needed while waiting for the healing time.