Missing teeth can lead to a variety of problems, including a gap-filled smile, facial collapse, and bone loss. Nancy Rotroff, DDS, MAGD, and Gerard Wasselle, DMD, provide Excellence in Dentistry in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with dental implants to support prosthetic teeth to fill any gaps in your smile. To find out more about dental implants, call our office today to schedule a consultation.
A dental implant is a metal fixture that replaces the root portion of a missing tooth. The implant is surgically placed into your jawbone by your dentist or an oral surgeon. The implant is placed beneath the gum line and serves as a stable support system for replacement teeth, whether a single crown, a bridge, or an implant-supported denture.
Implant-supported prosthetic teeth look, feel and function like your natural teeth. They are clearly the best option for tooth replacement due to their matchless longevity and completely natural feel and appearance. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, “implants are the strongest devices available to support replacement teeth."
When you are missing teeth, surrounding teeth tend to shift. Implants fill the gaps in your smile to prevent oral health issues caused by shifting teeth, such as the increased risk of tooth decay, crowding, and gum disease. The bone around the missing tooth resorbs or shrinks leading not only to bone loss but also causes changes to your facial appearance. While missing teeth can be replaced with a dental bridge or partial denture, implants are the best replacement option for several reasons:
Implant-supported prosthetic teeth are excellent for the healthy function of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Gaps in your teeth can make everyday functions, such as chewing, speaking, and digestion, more difficult. Implants vastly improve these functions.
First, your dentist evaluates the treatment area to check if your jawbone is strong enough to support an implant. Because implants naturally fuse to your jawbone, you need sufficient bone for an implant.
If your jawbone is too thin or weak, your dentist suggests a bone graft to grow new bone to adequately support a dental implant. This procedure requires a few months of healing to allow the growth of new, strong bone before you are ready for your new implant.
The second step is the dental implant procedure, where your oral surgeon uses a surgical drill to insert the metal implant into your jawbone. Before the procedure, they apply a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area so you don’t feel any pain.
Over the next few months, your implants attach to your jawbone during a process called osseointegration. Once your implant is fully integrated into your jaw bone, an abutment, a small connector, is placed on the implant and an impression is taken to create your custom replacement tooth/ teeth. This replacement may be an individual crown to replace one tooth, an implant-supported bridge to replace several teeth, or an implant-support denture to replace all teeth missing in an arch.
When you take good care of your dental implants, they should last for many, many years. In fact, you may never need to have them replaced.
Continue practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. Keep up with your regular dental appointments and cleanings so your dentist can make minor adjustments to your implants as your mouth naturally changes as you age. These simple steps are critical to having a smile you love for a lifetime.
If you’re interested in learning more about dental implants to replace any missing teeth, call the office to book an appointment today.