Tooth loss can be a serious problem. When you lose a tooth, the structure of your mouth changes. This may lead to further damage such as gum disease and shifting of other teeth in the arch. Tooth loss also presents a risk of bone loss in the jaw. At Kravitz Dental offices in Miami and Pembroke Pines, we offer the latest solution for tooth loss: dental implants.
What is a dental implant?
The best way to describe a dental implant is as a replacement root. This dental prosthetic may be made of titanium, a material that has a long history of use in orthopedic medicine. The purpose of the dental implant is to act as an artificial anchor to a replacement tooth. In doing this, the implant reinstates the stable foundation that was present when the natural tooth was in place.
Why is it necessary to replace missing teeth?
We need our teeth to chew and to have a nice smile. If one or two teeth are lost, can’t others just pick up the slack? The answer is that they can, but not without consequences. A full row of teeth is necessary to disperse the force of biting and chewing across the upper and lower arch. Empty spaces in between teeth force remaining teeth to endure more force. Additionally, without the proper connection between opposing teeth, it is possible that the bite may change, causing unnecessary stress in the temporomandibular joints. Space in between teeth invites shifting, which could lead to cosmetic problems.
The Bigger Picture
A tooth is not a solitary structure. Teeth are connected to the jawbone through their root system. Therefore, when we lose a tooth, we lose that root system as well. This is significant because teeth and roots are vital to the process of bone regeneration. When we bite and chew, force transfers through tooth structure, through the roots, and into the jawbone, where it supports ongoing bone regeneration through stimulation. Bone regeneration is vital to the preservation of the facial structure. Without adequate bone tissue in the jaw, the area around the mouth sinks inward.
Advantages of Dental Implants
There are several reasons why patients choose to recreate a root system with dental implants. As advantageous as it is to gain a stable structure for chewing and prevent tooth movement, the most important advantage of dental implant treatment is the effect that implants have on the jawbone. As discussed, the bone tissue in the jaw needs to consistently regenerate. For this to happen, there needs to be a root system. By replacing that system with artificial roots, bone can continue to grow as needed to support facial structure.
Dental Implant Process
The initial step of the implant process is to consult with your dentist. Our consultation and examination visit focus on the extent of tooth loss, the state of your oral health, and the condition of your jawbone. Bone density is a vital factor in determining which type of dental implant is most appropriate for you. Many patients are excellent candidates for standard root implants.
After the initial consultation, the course of treatment progresses through:
- Implant placement. The implant procedure is performed with local anesthetic and may also include mild sedation if you prefer. This minor surgery creates a small opening through the gums so the implant or implants can be screwed into the jawbone. This is a comfortable process.
- Osseointegration. After implants are inserted, the gum tissue is stitched over the bone. Undisturbed, implants are allowed to heal into the jawbone through osseointegration. During this process, bone cells grow around the implant and secure it into place.
- Abutment. After a few months of healing, implants are secure and able to hold a small metal piece that will connect the implant post to the artificial tooth. After the abutment is placed, gum tissue is stitched around it.
- Tooth replacement. Approximately six weeks after abutment placement, the implant is ready to hold its replacement tooth. Crown placement involves the uncovering of the abutment but no further stitching. Your new and improved smile is ready for the world!
How long do dental implants last?
A dental implant becomes a new root within the jawbone. It is fully stable and can last a lifetime. Good oral care is needed to prevent gum disease, which degrades the soft tissue around the implant and, in severe cases, attacks the jawbone. Patients of Kravitz Dental are provided with clear guidelines regarding the care of dental implants. Additionally, we continue to support you with ongoing professional care.
Contact us today to learn more about dental implants.