Whether it’s from years of wear and tear or an injury to the mouth, missing teeth affect millions of Americans on a daily basis. In fact, a shocking 36 million Americans and counting are missing all of their teeth! Not only can gaps of lost teeth cause unwanted cosmetic changes to a smile, but they can also play a role in hindering chewing or speech.
To learn more about how dental implants can solve these problems, read on!
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants completely replace the root of a tooth with an artificial metal implant inside of the jaw. In turn, the mouth has the structure to support a new, artificial tooth. While there is no one size fits all approach to missing teeth, dental implants are revered as one of the most effective and permanent ways to achieve a better smile.
So what, exactly, does a dental implant procedure entail? The typical steps that take place across the dental implant journey are as follows:
- Removing the damaged tooth
- Utilizing a bone graft to support the implant
- Placing the dental implant in the jaw
- Adding an abundant to attach the implant to the new crown
- Attaching the tooth replacement to the abundant
In general, the ideal candidate for a dental implant is patients that already have relatively healthy gums, strong jaw bone support, and proper oral hygiene practices. There are, however, exceptions to this rule.
Why Opt for Implants?
There’s a reason why countless patients opt for dental implants for their missing teeth: they offer a variety of unique benefits that cannot be replicated by dentures or other short-term fixes. A few of the many advantages of dental implants with Central Texas Periodontics include:
- Convenience: Once the implant and replacement tooth are in place, they are there to stay. This removes any of the annoyance associated with removing dentures time and time again.
- Health: The beauty of dental implants is that they don’t interfere with the integrity of any other teeth in the mouth. Since implants usually support a single tooth at a time, there is no need for shaving down existing healthy teeth as other methods might warrant.
- Natural Appearance: It is hard to tell the difference between a real and fake tooth with implants. When implemented by trusted periodontal professionals, they support a natural-looking smile.
- Permanence: When properly cared for, individuals can expect their dental implants to last as long as a lifetime. Since dentures and bridges can lead to other mouth issues later on, implants save time and money from future procedures in the long-run.
Preparing For Dental Implant Surgery
Before an implant surgery can occur, patients should consult with a periodontist to create a personalized treatment plan that caters to their specific mouth concerns, issues, and goals.
Some of the most common pre-implant procedures include:
- Socket preservation: Socket preservation fills missing tooth gaps with bone replacement before an implant occurs to prevent bone loss and decay.
- Ridge preservation: If patients are suffering from bone loss due to disease or injury, you may need a ridge modification to add enough bone to optimally support a future implant.
- Sinus augmentation: A sinus lift procedure essentially gives the sinus more room for bone to support an implant in the back of the jaw.
Dental Implant Options
Depending on an individual’s unique oral and bone health, the number of teeth in need of replacing, and the level of intervention that they desire, there are a variety of implanting types and techniques available to choose from.
The most common types of implants include:
All On 4 Dental Implants
All on 4 dental implants are a form of mini dental implants that are ideal for patients dealing with both multiple missing teeth and significant bone decay or loss. In this one-day-only procedure, patients can secure a new set of new teeth with the installment of just 4 implants for support.
All on 4 is also commonly known as the “smile in a day” procedure, since patients can rock an entirely new smile of teeth after the single procedure! This makes it one of the most cost-effective and hassle-free implant options.
Single Tooth Implants
A single tooth dental implant is a straightforward approach to receiving an implant. It replaces one single missing tooth at a time without affecting any other surrounding gums or teeth. This is an optimal procedure for patients with healthy gums that only need a tooth or two for replacing.
Implant-Supported Bridges and Dentures
Not only can implants be used for individual teeth, but they can also be effective at comfortably supporting bridges and dentures for patients with larger gaps of missing teeth.
Mini Dental Implants
If a typical implant doesn’t appear to be a viable option for a patient, there are other implant options for consideration. Although a traditional tooth implant isn’t suitable for patients dealing with bone atrophy or loss, mini dental implants offer a less invasive, yet equally rewarding result.
As the name suggests, mini dental implants are smaller in size than the traditional implant, so two minis are needed to deliver that same result of one. With less surgical intervention and intensity involved in the jaw bone itself, these mini implants are an excellent
option for those without the proper bone support or healing abilities to take on the traditional implant.
Central Texas Periodontists Are Here To Help
Dental implants offer unmatched results against other tooth-replacement methods, and are more comfortable, secure, and natural-looking than traditional dentures. Ready to get your smile back? Talk to an implant specialist at a Central Texas Periodontics office near you, or contact us online to schedule a consultation!