Why should I replace my missing teeth?
Usually, when you lose a tooth, it is best for your
oral health to have it replaced. Missing teeth can affect
your “bite,” as well as your ability to
speak and chew. Their loss can increase the burden on
your remaining teeth and can cause muscle pain in your
jaws and headaches. And of course, losing a tooth can
affect your appearance.
What are my tooth replacement
If you are missing one or more teeth and choose to have
it or them replaced, several treatment options are available:
A flipper is a removable plastic tooth that is inexpensive
but fragile and temporary.
A cast partial denture also is removable but is precision
cast in metal for longer service life. Wire clips help
hold it in place.
A fixed bridge is cemented into place using crowns
or “caps” on the teeth adjacent to the open
space for support. Crown placement usually requires
removing or reducing the outer layer of the tooth. In
some cases, a “Maryland” bridge, a fixed
bridge that does not need crowns, is glued onto the
back of the teeth adjacent to the space so that minimal
tooth structure is removed.
Complete dentures or plates are the traditional solution
for people who have lost all their teeth in one or both
jaws. The success of a full denture depends upon the
individuals jaw size and shape, his or her oral habits,
and his or her adaptability. Some people adapt well
to full dentures, while others are not able to adapt.
Dental implants can be used to provide support for
the replacement of one or more teeth. After years of
research and clinical trials, we can now provide this
option in addition to the traditional treatments just
described. Implant-supported teeth can be cemented,
screw-retained, or removable and can be made attractive,
stable, and comfortable for almost any patient.
What is a dental
The best way to describe a dental implant is to compare
it to a real tooth. A natural tooth consists of a root
and a crown. The part of the tooth that you see and
eat with is called the crown. Beneath the crown is a
root, which anchors the tooth through the gum tissue
to the jawbone. When you lose a tooth, you lose both
the root and the crown. To replace a tooth, we first
have to replace the root. Essentially, a dental implant
is a new root. This titanium root is fitted into a socket
that is created in your jaw, replacing the lost root
of your natural tooth.
Dental implants come in various shapes and sizes and
have different types of surfaces. The actual implant
selection will depend on a variety of factors related
to your specific treatment needs and the most appropriate
one(s) will be used. Once an implant has been placed
in the jaw, the bone around implant will need to heal
for six weeks to six months, depending upon how hard
the bone is. When this initial phase of healing is completed,
a support post called an abutment will be placed into the
implant itself and then a new crown, or replacement
tooth will be placed on top. If all your teeth are missing,
a variety of treatment options are available to support
the replacement teeth.
How are dental
Usually, the office procedure to place a dental implant
takes about an hour for one implant and no more than
two or three hours for multiple implants. The placement
process consists of the following steps:
- Our doctors will discuss anesthesia options at
your consultation appointment. On the following
day of implant placement, you will be given local
anesthesia and sedation, if desired, to make you comfortable.
- A small incision is made into the gum tissue, revealing
the bone into which the implant will be placed.
- Using special instruments, a space (socket) is
created for the implant.
- The titanium implant is then inserted into the socket.
- Finally, if necessary, sutures will be used.
After the implant is placed, the area will need to
heal for six weeks to six months. The length of time
is determined by a variety of factors, including how
hard your bone is.
Follow-up care (one to four appointments) is usually
needed to ensure that your mouth is healing well and
to determine when you are ready for the restorative
phase of your treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there another way
I can have a tooth replaced other than a bridge?
Yes. Dental implants can provide artificial teeth that
look natural and feel secure. Dental implants can also
be used to attach full or partial dentures. Implants,
however, are not an option for everyone. Because implants
require surgery, patients must be in good health, have
healthy gums, have adequate bone to support the implant
and be committed to meticulous oral hygiene and regular
dental visits. If you are considering implants, a thorough
evaluation by your dentist will help determine if you
would be a good candidate.
What is involved in
First, surgery is performed to place the anchor. Surgery
can take up to several hours, and up to six months may
be required for the bone to grow around the anchor and
firmly hold it in place. Some implants require a second
surgery in which a post is attached to connect the anchor
to the replacement teeth. With other implants, the anchor
and post are already attached and are placed at the
After the gums have had several weeks to heal, the
next step begins. The artificial teeth are made and
fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several
fittings may be required, this step can take one to
two months to complete.
Implant surgery can be done either in a dental office
or in a hospital, depending upon a number of factors.
A local or general anesthetic may be used. Usually pain
medications and, when necessary, antibiotics are prescribed.
Your dentist will give you instructions on diet and