Although you have a number of restorative options for the treatment of missing teeth, none have proven to be as functionally effective and durable as dental implants. In many cases, dental implants may be the only logical choice for the restoration of all necessary functionality of the teeth and supporting structures.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants replace missing roots and support false teeth, which can be set by the doctor to the dental implant(s).
What Causes Tooth Loss?
Teeth are lost because of:
- Tooth decay
- Root canal failure
- Gum Disease
- Trauma to the mouth
- Excessive wear and tear
- Inherited defects
What Happens if I Don’t Pursue Treatment?
You will feel self-conscious when you smile or talk. Tooth loss will have a negative effect on your eating habits, which could lead to health problems like malnutrition. You will also experience bone loss if you have missing teeth. Bone loss occurs because when a tooth is missing, the bone may erode and weaken since there is no tooth supporting the bone.
Why Should I get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are stronger and more durable than bridges and dentures. Single implants can serve to support your crown replacing a single missing tooth. Implants can also support a dental bridge for replacement of multiple missing teeth.
How Do I get Dental Implants?
The importance of this procedure is to create a functional and structural connection between your bone and the dental implant. This process is done through what is called Osseointegration, which anchors the root of the dental implant to your jaw bone.
The doctor will prepare the area where your tooth is missing. You may need excess bone or gum tissue removed, you may need your bone reshaped or the bone ridge reduced (these are all consequences of missing teeth).See Figure 1.
The implant (a small metal post) will be placed in your mouth and allowed to anchor and heal to the jaw bone, which takes about 3 – 6 months (See Figure 2). A temporary tooth will be placed in your mouth while your implant heals.
Once the implant has anchored to your jaw bone, the permanent false tooth can be placed over the implant (See Figures 3 & 4).
*Osseointegration must be done or the implant will fail.
Are Dental Implants Successful?
Studies have shown a 5-year success rate of 95% for lower jaw implants and 90% for upper jaw implants due to it being less dense than the lower jaw, making successful implantation and osseointegration potentially more difficult to achieve.
How do I Care for My Dental Implant
Because dental implants bond to your bone, false teeth attached to your dental implants look and act similar to natural teeth. However, dental implants do not have as much strength as natural teeth. When brushing and flossing your dental implants you must be very careful. Be gentle, and make sure you brush your entire dental implant(s).
Once a day, floss very carefully. You will need to be gentle with the floss where the implant meets your gum. A floss threader may be more useful for cleaning your implant.