David C. Medford, DDS
If you are missing a single tooth or multiple teeth, implants are the way to go. They are the most natural looking way to replace missing teeth. Dental implants help maintain the integrity of the jawbone and prevent deterioration of the bone that can take place with missing teeth. It's important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible for the full function of chewing and for a healthy, happy smile.
Making the initial dental appointment is the first step in evaluating if dental implants are right for you. On the first appointment, a full mouth exam will be completed with a complete medical and dental history. You'll receive X-rays and possibly a CT scan, which will give Dr. Medford a good idea of your bone density and the shape of your jaw. Finally, you'll discuss the options available to you and be educated by Dr. Medford about the whole implant procedure. Dr. Medford will discuss if you'd be a good candidate for a dental implant. You must also commit to a meticulous oral hygiene regime with regular dental visits.
What are Dental Implants?
Replicating the natural function and appearance of your lost teeth can be very difficult to accomplish. Historically, dentures or bridge restorations would be used as replacements, but with limited results. Dental implants, however, are natural-looking replacements for missing teeth that also provide the same function as your natural tooth root. They have also been used to anchor these other types of restorations for greater success and patient satisfaction.
Are you a good candidate?
Crowns, bridges, and dentures are not the only options when replacing missing teeth. Dental implants offer the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone. Integration of the implants into your jaw bone also helps the replacement teeth feel more natural and many people find this secure fit very comfortable.
Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost one or more teeth due to periodontal disease or an injury. Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine whether dental implants are right for you.
A More Natural Approach
A dental implant is a small, sturdy, titanium post that acts as the root structure would for a natural tooth. A dental implant is placed into your upper or lower jaw bone. After the bone has grown around the implant, implants can hold a crown, bridge or over-denture just like roots hold natural teeth in place. Implants are very durable and can last a lifetime. They require the same maintenance as natural teeth; this includes brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups.
A single tooth or a full arch of teeth which have been lost due to injury or disease can be replaced with dental implants. Titanium metal is used because of its compatibility with bone and oral tissues.
Replacing a Single Tooth with a Dental Implant
If you have lost a tooth due to an accident or from periodontal disease, that one tooth can be replaced using a dental implant.
A dental implant is an excellent way of replacing a single tooth without the disadvantages of a fixed bridge or removable dentures. It is the ideal treatment for a missing tooth because it does not affect your adjacent teeth. That means no grinding or crowning of your natural teeth for bridges, and no clasps for removable partial dentures.
Your teeth stimulate the surrounding bone with each bite. This preserves the integrity of the bone. When a tooth is lost, the bone is not stimulated and begins to shrink away. A dental implant keeps this bone intact and can prevent both bone loss and gum tissue shrinkage. In addition, because a dental implant replaces the root structure, the jawbone is better preserved. A dental implant is also much easier to clean as compared to a bridge. And unlike a bridge, an implant can not be affected by cavities.
A dental implant looks and functions like a natural tooth, while having several advantages over other types of tooth replacement. If you are missing a single tooth, a dental implant is the most natural looking way to replace it.
Replacing Multiple Teeth with Dental Implants
As we age, a greater effort is required in the maintenance of our appearance. While we may force ourselves to a strict diet and exercise, many times our teeth are forgotten. Teeth are prone to deterioration after many years of use. They get worn down, chipped/cracked, and eventually they can be lost due to physical injury or prolonged tooth decay and deterioration. Having many missing teeth is detrimental to the health and replacing these teeth is very important.
Just as with one missing tooth, several missing teeth can be aided with dental implants. Implant supported bridges are permanently fixed in the mouth, unlike removable appliances. Dental implants look and function like natural teeth without needing the support of neighboring teeth. Because dental implants replace the root of the natural tooth, they preserve the jawbone and prevent bone deterioration. This preservation of jawbone helps to keep both the bone and gum tissue from collapsing, which may lead to an unattractive smile. In addition, with a traditional bridge, cement can wash out from underneath the bridge exposing the tooth, allowing cavities to form. Dental implants do not get cavities, but brushing and flossing are extremely important to maintain for healthy gums and help in keeping plaque away from the bone and gum tissue.
Dentures will fit more securely and comfortably with an overdenture implant. This will minimize any discomfort and movement (slipping) that is common with normal dentures. Many older adults are turning towards dental implant supported dentures for their greater comfort and confidence with dentures. Many people are often able to eat the foods they couldnâ€™t with their old dentures.
Multiple teeth implants are a great way to add confidence to your smile with a truly snug fitting denture or getting rid of that ill-fitting partial denture.
Common Reasons Implants May Not Work
Most adults can be candidates for dental implants. However, smokers and those with uncontrolled chronic diseases or systemic problems may not be good candidates for this procedure. Smoking impedes healing in the mouth and can reduce the likelihood that implants will be successful. People with poorly controlled diabetes may not be good candidates for implants as well, due to healing problems of the gum tissue that can arise.
Insurance & Financing
More dental plans are now covering dental implants, but it most still do not cover implants. The truth is that there are several different methods of replacing teeth and most dental plans will choose to cover the least expensive of the procedures.
It is widely known that bridges and dentures have been replaced by dental implants as the preferred treatment for missing teeth. Dental implants have a number of advantages over these traditional methods:
- Implant Supported Dentures preserve bone structure preventing that sunken in look of old age.
- An Implant Replacing a Single Tooth saves the surrounding teeth from the harm of attaching a bridge to them.
- Dental Implants look and feel like natural teeth.
Even though these benefits and more are well known the insurance companies, they have to protect their bottom dollar. So, don't assume that dental implants are covered by your insurance. It is important to check before you pick and visit your implant dentist.
We offer financing through CareCredit, www.carecredit.com. They offer zero percent and low interest rates. A lot of our patients find using them instead of their credit cards are ideal because of the low interest rates.