WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Permanent solution for tooth loss
Once you’ve lost a tooth – whether by accident or extraction – you’ll want to replace it somehow. There are several reasons for this:
- Missing teeth can destabilize your bite.
- Leaving a gap will cause surrounding teeth to shift.
- Missing teeth can impact the way you hold your jaw and make your face appear older.
- Gaps do not protect your gums and can cause discomfort.
- Large gaps can lead to the atrophy of gum tissue and the underlying bone.
Dental Implants Perform Like Real Teeth!
Fortunately, you have a few options for replacing those missing teeth. Dentures and bridges are two of these and are sometimes the favored choices to fill wide, multiple-tooth gaps.
But the best option for replacing a single missing tooth, and sometimes even for multiple teeth, is a dental implant.
A dental implant has two parts: a titanium screw that forms the implant’s “root” and holds it in place, and a customized porcelain cap that looks just like your own healthy tooth would. Dental implants are ideal because they work just like a real tooth, appear like a real tooth, and can last a lifetime if treated with care – just like a real tooth.
Dentists often prefer dental implants because they perform like real teeth, plus they help prevent bone and tissue atrophy. Sometimes dental implants will be used to anchor bridges and partial dentures as well.
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Advantages of Dental Implants
A dental implant has certain advantages over other types of prosthetic teeth. Some of these were detailed above. Others include:
- More stability than bridges and dentures because implants are screwed into the bone.
- You can eat and smile normally because it feels and acts like a real tooth.
- You retain a stronger bite with an implant.
One more serious advantage: a properly cared-for dental implant can last a lifetime. Bridges, on the other hand, have an expected life of seven to ten years.
Caring For Your Dental Implant
A dental implant requires the same care your natural teeth would: regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental exams and cleaning. It’s important to keep the area around your implant clean and free of plaque and tartar, just like with your natural teeth. This ease of care is really just another advantage of dental implants.
Additional Implant Services
- Autogenous Bone Grafting. Because gum disease and decay often cause the surrounding bone to deteriorate, sometimes there’s not enough bone remaining to support a dental implant. In these cases, we take a bit of bone from elsewhere in your mouth – typically around the wisdom teeth – and graft it into the space where the healthy bone is needed. The new bone graft can take 9 to 12 months to form properly and heal, after which time the dental implant can be inserted.
- Sinus Lift Augmentation. When your rear upper teeth are lost, your sinuses will often expand into that space while the bone there atrophies. Now a dental implant won’t fit there because it needs bone to fix into, not an open air cavity. The sinus lift corrects this condition by grafting new bone material into the space and restoring the sinus cavity to its original size. Like the bone grafting above, this will require time to heal before the implant can be placed.
- Implant Site Development. If you know you’ll eventually want an implant when a tooth is removed, and the site requires it, we can graft new bone into place at the time of the [tooth extraction]. This can dramatically decrease the overall time spent waiting between extraction of your tooth and the insertion of an implant.
So if you’re currently missing any teeth, and think an implant might be right for you, don’t delay. Call any of our dental offices in Antrim, Keene and now Peterborough for a consultation. The sooner we get the process started, the sooner you can enjoy a full set of teeth and share that full smile again.