Annual Oral Health Section
Why You Might Need a Dental Implant
The failure of a tooth, whether from trauma, decay, or gum disease, can be a tough diagnosis to receive. The loss of a tooth can result in problems such as shifting of teeth, increased risk of wear and breakdown of remaining teeth from unequal loading, functional limitations in eating, and issues with the muscles and joints involved in chewing. Tooth loss can also affect a person’s facial appearance and smile, which can have significant consequences on self-esteem and has been linked to depression.
How Dental Implants Work
The goal of a dental implant is to restore both function and esthetics. They look, feel, and work like natural teeth, and they will not interfere with everyday actions like eating, speaking, and smiling. Dental implants are screw-like titanium anchors that are shaped like the root of a tooth. They are inserted into the jawbone under the gum and are designed to replace the root form of a missing tooth. Once implanted, crowns can be placed on top with a connector. The success of implants depends on a solid foundation of both bone and healthy soft tissue that may need to be augmented during your treatment.
Advancements in Dental Implants
Thanks to advancements in surgical techniques and materials, in many cases your surgeon can remove the diseased tooth and place the new implant at the same time. Oftentimes, it is also possible to place a temporary tooth on the implant while you await your permanent crown. Depending on your case, your surgeon may recommend a bone graft to replace any missing bone before placement of the implant.
What to Expect from the Procedure
The procedure for removal of a failing tooth and either placement of an immediate implant or a bone preserving graft can be done with either local numbing medication, like with a filling, or under sedation for your comfort. Typically, the procedure can be done on the same day as the evaluation, and the first follow-up, to ensure the implant is bonding to the jawbone, is two weeks later. The next phase, when the post is attached to the implant, is performed a few months later. Once the bone has healed around your implant, you will return to your restorative dentist (family dentist) for the final phase and placement of the permanent crown. HS