If You’re Missing One Tooth Or Many, You May Be Aware That Loss Affects More Than Just Your Smile. You Want A Solution That’s Permanent, So Dental Implants May Be Right For You.
When it comes to good dental health, Americans don’t do such a good job. According to the CDC, by the time teenagers are 17, roughly 7% of them have lost a minimum of one permanent tooth to decay or gum disease. That number skyrockets to 69% for adults aged 35-44, and at 50, they’ve lost an average of 12 teeth.
Tooth loss impacts many things, including how you appear, how you feel about yourself, your oral health, and your overall health. There’s no upside to losing teeth.
Dr. Bruno Sharp and our extensive team of dental professionals at Sharp Dentistry & Associates in Coconut Grove, Florida do everything they can to save your teeth. When that isn’t possible, however, they use state-of-the-art technology to replace what’s been damaged or lost. One of the best options for restoring your smile is with dental implants. Here’s what you need to know about the process.
How missing teeth impact your oral health
A key risk to your oral health is missing teeth, and research shows that the risk increases with each additional missing tooth. Some problems that could occur include:
- Bone atrophy: the jaw needs chewing pressure to maintain mass
- Gum recession: creates pockets for bacteria and weakens teeth on both sides of the gap
- Plaque buildup/tooth decay: adjacent teeth surfaces are more exposed
- Moving teeth: adjacent teeth shift into the gap, leading to misalignment and difficulty chewing and speaking
- Altered facial structure: lips move inward, cheeks sag or look “hollowed out,” aging your appearance
The dental implant process
Dental implants are essentially replacement tooth roots, and they serve as a strong foundation for either fixed or removable replacement teeth that sit above them, which are made to match your natural teeth.
First, the dentist secures the implant, a small, biocompatible titanium post, within the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jaw heals, it grows around the post, firmly and permanently anchoring it. The healing process takes about 6-12 weeks, during which time you wear a temporary crown to fill the gap.
Once the implant has fused with the bone, the dentist attaches a small connector post — known as an abutment — to the titanium root. Its purpose is to support the crown or removable artificial tooth that will rest above it. Instead of a single or multiple crowns, some patients prefer to get a removable denture. It, too, rests on top of the abutment.
Your dentist will match the color of the crown to your natural teeth around it. And because the implant is secured within the jawbone, it looks, feels, and functions the way your natural teeth do. The implant is even sturdy enough that chewing on the biting surface helps stimulate bone growth in the jaw.
Do you have one or more teeth that are missing and are looking for an effective solution? As long as you’re finished growing and your gums are healthy, you should be a good candidate for dental implants. Schedule an appointment by calling our friendly staff or book it online today.