REPLACING MISSING AND LOST TEETH
Our teeth are anchored in place by roots. These roots reach into the gum and are supported by bone and connective tissue. The whole network ensures that our teeth stay firmly fixed allowing us to bite and chew our food comfortably. Strong roots are important for healthy teeth, but sometimes due to infections or injuries, the root gets damaged.
Any problem with the root leads to loss of teeth which, in turn, leads to changes in the jaw that affect the remaining teeth. To prevent further loss of teeth, it is important to replace the missing tooth or teeth. Up until very recently, dental bridges and dentures were used to replace missing teeth. While these procedures are still in use, they have their limitations when it comes to preventing bone loss in the jaw. The procedure that can replace missing teeth and maintain the bone in the jaw is called dental implants.
WHAT ARE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Dental implants are small titanium rods that replace the root of the tooth. The rods are fixed into the jawbone to get a firm hold. The bone fuses around the implant and holds it in its place. The implant provides a base where an artificial tooth or crown can be fixed. Dental implants have changed the way missing teeth have been replaced resulting in stronger jaws and more comfortable replacement teeth. If you are missing a tooth or teeth, you might want to check if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
Choosing the right treatment
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS
To be a good candidate for dental implants, you need to have sufficient bone in the area where the tooth or teeth are missing. You also need to have healthy gums which will support the implants. If the bone is insufficient, your dentist might suggest a bone grafting procedure to help build up the bone volume.
Implants require enough space in the jaw, and if your upper jaw is too close to your sinuses, dental implants might not be the best option. The problem, however, can be solved with a sinus lift.
At Amaya Dental, our team of dentists can offer the best dental implants, and they will be able to guide you on which procedure is the best for you after giving you a thorough oral examination. X-rays of your jaw will also be taken so that the dentists can get a better idea of your bone structure before going ahead with any procedure.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A DENTAL IMPLANT
If you are a good candidate for a dental implant procedure, the dentists will explain all the steps to you. Here is what you can expect:
- During the first sitting, your gums will be numbed with an anesthetic, and a small incision will be made where the tooth is missing.
- Through the incision, the dentist will insert the titanium rod that gets fixed into your jawbone. The tip of the rod extends above the gum line.
- The incision is sutured around the implant and is given time to heal.
- A few weeks or months later when your gums have healed and the bone has fused around the implant, you will be called in for a second procedure.
- During the second sitting, an abutment is attached to the top of the implant.
- An impression of your jaw will be taken, and a replacement tooth will be made to match the size of the missing tooth and the color of your other teeth.
- The new tooth will then be securely attached to the abutment.
- After the procedure, your gums will feel a little sore, but this will clear up in a few days. Your dentist will also prescribe painkillers for you so that you don’t feel any discomfort while you heal.
Your new tooth will be made to look exactly like one of your natural teeth. The prosthetic might feel a little uncomfortable at the start, but you will soon get used to it.
ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL IMPLANTS
• Some people find wearing dentures very uncomfortable. Implants feel more natural, and once you are used to the feel of the new teeth, they are very comfortable.
• Implants are firmly fixed to the jawbone, so they don’t come loose. You can eat and chew your food normally when you have implants.
• Unlike dental bridges, implants don’t need healthy adjacent teeth to be attached to.
• To fix bridges, the healthy teeth on either side have to be filed down a bit. Healthy teeth are not affected in any way when implants are attached.
• Dental implants prevent bone loss caused due to missing teeth. When the bone doesn’t have a tooth to support, it starts getting reabsorbed by the body. When an implant is inserted, the bone grows around it and doesn’t get reabsorbed.
CARING FOR YOUR DENTAL IMPLANTS
After the dental implants and new teeth have been fixed, it is important that you take good care of the structures. The dentists at Amaya Dental will give you a set of aftercare instructions which you will need to follow carefully.
Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you play impact sports, make sure to wear a good mouth-guard to protect your implants and new teeth from damage. Visit your dentist every six months for a follow up.
Dr. Andres Amaya and his team at Amaya Dental are seasoned professionals and have several years of experience in providing top-notch dental implants. We have been serving our community for a number of years with a high success rate.
Our clinic houses state-of-the-art equipment and we use the latest technology for our procedures. You can enjoy the calm and relaxed atmosphere of our clinic when you come in for a consultation.