Missing teeth are a serious issue. The teeth are an essential part of the mouth, enabling you to do many important tasks every single day. When you lose your teeth, even if it is only one, your whole life is affected. Eating becomes more difficult. Speaking becomes a challenge. Your smile is altered, which can affect your confidence. Missing teeth also affect the jawbone, which begins to grow weak from lack of tooth stimulation. Replacing missing teeth is necessary for restoring the functions of your mouth, your oral health, and your appearance. At Shenandoah Family Dentistry, we can replace your missing teeth with dental implants.
Dental implants are a fairly recent treatment for replacing missing teeth, having only been in use for a few decades. While they are newer than bridges and dentures, they have grown significantly in popularity. Implants involve the use of small titanium posts, which are surgically inserted into the jawbone. The bone then fuses to the posts in a process known as osseointegration. This process turns the implants into strong, stable roots that are then used to support ceramic crowns.
Dental implants are unique in many ways. One of these ways is that they can be customized to meet a variety of different needs. Whether you are missing a single tooth or you are missing all of your teeth, there is a dental implant for you.
• Single tooth implants. A single tooth implant uses one titanium post to support a single crown, replacing one missing tooth in any area of the mouth.
• Multiple tooth implants. Also called an implant supported bridge, this implant replaces two or more teeth in a given area. One or more implants are used to support your crowns.
• Implant supported dentures. An implant supported denture uses 6 to 8 implants to support an entire arch of new teeth.
• All-on-4® Treatment Concept implants. This treatment offers an alternative to an implant supported denture, and is often used when too much bone mass has been lost. When you do not have enough bone mass, implants can fail. Even one failing implant out of those used for an implant supported denture can compromise the entire restoration. The All-on-4® Treatment Concept uses four implants, which are placed to strategically take advantage of what bone mass you do have. With this treatment, you can avoid the need for a bone graft before getting your implants.
Dental implants do more than just restore your smile and your abilities to eat and speak properly. They have numerous benefits over traditional treatment options.
• They are more comfortable. Your teeth are supported by the implants, and the jawbone, rather than your gums.
• They are held securely in place, and will not slip or fall out.
• They do not require the alteration of any adjacent healthy teeth.
• They can be brushed and flossed just like natural teeth, rather than requiring an extensive nightly routine.
• The implants stimulate your jawbone, just like the roots of your natural teeth, which helps to keep your jawbone strong and healthy. In doing so, the bone does not resorb, and your jaw maintains its shape. This also means that implants do not have to be periodically replaced, unlike bridges and dentures.
Getting your dental implants involves a surgical procedure. A local anesthetic and sedation are administered before the procedure begins. When they have taken effect, small incisions are cut in the gum tissue, exposing the bone. Small holes are then drilled into the jawbone, and the implants are placed inside. The gums are stitched closed around the implants, and temporary teeth are placed.
Healing from implant surgery can take up to several months. During this time, the bone fuses with the implants, integrating them into your jaw. We monitor this progression closely, ensuring that it goes smoothly. Once you have fully healed, we remove the temporary teeth and take impressions of your mouth. The impressions are sent to a dental lab where your new crowns are created. When they are ready, we screw them into place on your implants, and you leave with a fully functioning, completely natural looking, new smile.
Dental implants look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth, right down to stimulating your jawbone to keep it healthy and strong. If you are missing teeth, call Shenandoah Family Dentistry to find out if dental implants are the right solution for you at (540) 667-8731.