Having a missing tooth risks more than your beautiful smile. If you lose a tooth and don’t replace it, your other teeth might shift into the empty spot. This can cause them to spread out and create gaps.
At Dores Dental in Longmeadow, MA, we can replace a missing tooth with a dental implant. Call our office at 413-241-3995 to set up a consultation.
Why Replace A Tooth?
Aside from aesthetics, the next most common reason to replace a missing tooth is because of function. If you are missing a tooth or several teeth, it could affect your ability to pronounce certain words and your ability to chew and digest food properly.
Another reason to replace a missing tooth is to prevent bone shrinkage. When a permanent (adult) tooth is removed and not replaced, jawbone stimulation stops at that particular site. When bone stops being stimulated, it starts to break down. When the bone breaks down, not only does it become less functional but your face can appear misshapen or sunken through the cheeks and jawline.
Tooth Replacement Options
If you have a missing tooth or some missing teeth, you now have more options for replacing those teeth than just bridges and dentures. Dental implants can restore full chewing ability, preserve jawbone density, support your facial structure and give you a beautiful smile all at the same time.
Longmeadow, MA implant dentist Dr. Dores offers this teeth replacement option. Here’s what you should know about dental implants:
The Advantages Of Dental Implants
A dental implant is basically an artificial tooth root that’s inserted into the jaw to permanently hold artificial teeth in place. It is made out of titanium, which is biocompatible with the jawbone.
When you lose a tooth, some bone that helped support the tooth is also lost. Dental implants help stabilize the jaw, maintain the jawbone’s shape, and prevent future bone loss.
As a teeth replacement option, dentures can sometimes be a less convenient option because they can slip and they’re not permanent. Implants feel much more natural and comfortable. They are also better than traditional bridges and crowns because they aren’t just cemented in place.
Bridges and dentures can be mounted on implants, however, making them less likely to slip. That makes talking and eating easier and worry-free. Implants also help you avoid other problems sometimes associated with dentures like gagging, poor alignment, and sore spots.
The Implant Procedure
Dental implant surgery is usually an outpatient procedure performed in stages:
- We remove the damaged tooth.
- We prepare your jawbone for surgery. This process may involve bone grafting.
- When your jawbone heals, we will place the dental implant in your jawbone.
- We allow everything to heal. That may take several months.
- We will then place the abutment. The abutment is an extension of the implant and is where the crown will eventually attach.
- After the soft tissue heals, we will place your replacement teeth.
You have a couple of options for what type of artificial teeth you want: teeth that are removable, fixed, or a combination of both.
Removable denture. This procedure involves artificial teeth surrounded by pink plastic gum. The denture is mounted on a metal frame that’s attached to the implant abutment, and snaps securely into place. That means it can be removed for repair or daily cleaning.
Fixed. In a fixed type of replacement tooth, an artificial tooth is permanently screwed or cemented onto an individual implant abutment. The tooth is not removable. If you want, you can opt to replace several missing teeth this way. Most of the time, each crown will be attached to its own dental implant. Because implants are exceptionally strong, however, several teeth can be replaced by one implant and be bridged together.
The ideal candidate for implant placement is someone who:
- Is in good general and oral health
- Has a dense enough jawbone.
- Is free of severe decay and gum disease. We can treat these conditions before we place the implants.
After the procedure
There are a few discomforts with implants, but they’re pretty much like those associated with any type of dental surgery. Our staff will answer any questions you have about what to expect after your procedure.