On the surface, you might think that tooth loss is just that – tooth loss in the sense that there is no tooth in the place where a tooth used to be. But tooth loss can have a much more drastic effect on your oral health and your overall physical appearance if it is left untreated. For instance, when you lose a tooth, the bone that supports it begins to melt away, which can cause a “caved in” like appearance to people’s mouths if the issue isn’t resolved either through dental implants or dentures.
But that’s not all – tooth loss can also take its toll on the remaining teeth in one’s mouth. Tooth loss can cause other teeth to shift around in the mouth, impacting the jaw, muscles and joints. Hence, when tooth loss occurs – for whatever the reason – it’s important to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible to prevent these aforementioned aftereffects from occurring. And that’s where dental implants come into play.
Dental Implants Explained
So just what is a dental implant? It’s a corrective tooth device that is surgically connected to the jawbone, essentially allowing a dentist to replace missing teeth with artificial ones. The first step to installing a dental implant is fusing metal posts or frames into the jawbone, directly beneath the gum, to give an artificial tooth a place to be mounted. Once mounted, the implant will provide stability for the artificial tooth, thereby preventing any shifting or slipping within the mouth and eliminating the problems from tooth loss that we mentioned in the previous section.
There are two main types of dental implants:
- Endosteal: These types of implants are surgically implanted directly onto the jawbone and consist of a second surgery to connect a post to the initial implant. Following the second procedure, the tooth is installed.
- Subperiosteal: With this type of implant, a metal frame is fitted onto the jawbone, eventually becoming fixed to the bone as the gums begin to heal from the procedure. Posts are then attached to the frame and artificial teeth are attached to the posts.
Will Dental Implants Work?
The simple answer is “yes” as dental implants are an effective and safe means for correcting tooth loss issues, should your gums be healthy enough and your situation fit for the procedure. But patients should also be aware that they’ll likely have to change some of their oral care habits in order to properly care for these implants. For instance:
- Regular dental visits: It’s recommended that you visit the dentist at least once every 6 months. That’s even more important to adhere to with dental implants.
- Brushing and flossing: You should be brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and also brushing your implants with an interdental brush to properly care for them.
- Stop smoking: Dentists say that smoking is the number one cause of implant-related issues. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended that you cease smoking after receiving an implant.
There are also other things to consider before getting an implant. For instance, it’s a process that typically takes a few months and multiple dentist visits to complete. Secondly, it’s an expensive procedure, especially when compared to other tooth loss remedies. In fact, it’s estimated that most insurance plans only minimally cover the procedure. However, it’s important to note that the procedure is safe and implants are ideal for best long-term results.
For more information on dental implants and to set up a consultation to see if your particular situation would be suitable for the procedure, contact Dr. Richard Caven’s office today.