Missing teeth are a problem for many patients, but it is not something you need to live with for the rest of your life. In fact, even one missing tooth can harm the stability of the rest of your smile. This is why Dr. Castle places so much emphasis on dental implants. These restorations not only more naturally take the place of lost teeth, but also mimic the natural structure of that tooth and help maintain the rest of your smile.
Why Do Teeth Fall Out?
There are a number of factors that contribute to tooth loss, but usually it occurs because of periodontal infection (gum disease) or dental caries (tooth decay). Other contributors to tooth loss include:
- Age and wear
- Dental trauma
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Smoking or drinking habits
What are the Consequences of Missing Teeth?
Many patients believe missing teeth are inevitable, but the truth is your permanent teeth should last a lifetime. However, due to many factors, not all of which are in your control, teeth sometimes do fall out. This loss not only leaves a gap in your smile, but also disrupts a balanced relationship between teeth and bone. The alveolar (jaw) bones help anchor teeth in position, but the teeth also stimulate the bone to keep it think and strong. When one or more teeth go missing it also leads to bone loss because there is nothing in the socket to stimulate the underlying structures. The loss of bone can impact your appearance, making you age more quickly. It also impacts your overall health because you might experience problems with remaining teeth and could lose your ability to speak or eat normally. Other problems that often occur in conjunction with missing teeth include:
- Sinus expansion
- TMJ disorders
- Collapse of facial profile
- Remaining teeth drift, shift or loosen
- Misalignment leads to pain and dysfunction
- Lips and skin lose support and wrinkle around the mouth
- Other facial features become distorted
What are Dental Implants?
Your natural teeth consist of two parts: the part you can see above the gumline (crown) and the part anchored by connective tissue and bone (root). Technically, the implant portion of this restoration is a titanium post secured directly in the alveolar bone. This mimics the natural structure of a tooth root. Dentists use implants to replace one, several or all your missing teeth by topping them with a crown, or using them for an implant anchored bridge or implant dentures.
Why is Titanium Used for Dental Implants?
Many people are curious about the science of dental implants, and though this method is fairly modern, the science has been around for decades. Titanium is a time-tested, bio-compatible material. In 1952, a scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark discovered this property by accident. He was studying blood flow in rabbit bone with titanium chambers. At the conclusion of his study, he went to remove the chambers, but they fused in place through a process he coined as, “osseointegration.” The titanium had fused with the bone. The same principles apply to dental implants, which is why they have a 95 percent success rate. Once in place, your dental implant should last the rest of your life.
What is the Procedure?
To complete the full restoration, you will visit Dr. Castle for a series of appointments. It starts with a consultation where Dr. Castle examines your mouth and develops a treatment plan. Prior to surgery Dr. Castle may put you on antibiotics and recommend oral sedation for your appointment.
During the procedure she administers a local anesthetic so you feel no pain. Once you are comfortable, she creates space in the empty socket for the dental implant. She places the titanium post or screw and often covers it with gum tissue to promote safer and faster healing. Occasionally, she takes an impression at this time, so the crown or other restoration is ready for your next visit. Then you must wait for the bone to heal before you come in for the next portion of treatment. The length of time varies depending on the quality and quantity of bone, but it usually takes about 16 weeks for the implant to fully integrate.
Dr. Castle might recommend some follow up appointments to be sure your mouth heals properly and determine when she can place the crown. Once the implant stabilizes, she removes gum tissue to expose the implant and tops it with the completed restoration.
How Many Implants Will I Need?
This depends on how many teeth you need to replace because you do not always need one implant per tooth. If Dr. Castle replaces one tooth, you need one dental implant topped with a crown. Front teeth require smaller implants and back teeth larger ones because molars often have two or three roots. For multiple teeth in a row, she might recommend an implant anchored (fixed) bridge, which includes two implants topped with three or four restorations. She can also use implants to anchor full sets of dentures that need four implants per set (All-on-4) to make dentures more stable and less painful. After a consultation with Dr. Castle, you will develop the perfect treatment plan for your needs and know exactly how many implants to expect.
Choosing Brighter Days Dental for Dental Implants
With advanced techniques and technology, Dr. Castle offers her patients revolutionized treatment options. Whether you need to replace one or several missing teeth, dental implants are often the best option. When placed correctly, dental implants can and should last for the rest of your life and give you all the benefits of natural teeth.
If you are missing permanent teeth, it is time to contact our office at 937-335-8014 to learn more about dental implants.