We may never be able to completely prevent tooth loss for everyone, but the good news is that today’s dentistry offers a wealth of preventive measures to help most patients avoid it. It also offers highly lifelike materials and techniques for replacing lost teeth so that patients can regain their confidence in their smiles. While tooth loss can pose a serious threat to your oral health if not addressed, you can partner with your prosthodontic dentist to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your bite’s function or your smile’s youthful, attractive appearance.
If you have experienced tooth loss and are looking for a skilled and experienced dental team, look no further than Dr. James Fondriest. Dr. Fondriest is one of the premier cosmetic authorities in the Midwest. He trains practitioners throughout the country on the art of cosmetic dentistry and prosthodontics and is frequently published in many of the leading journals of dentistry.
Why Tooth Loss Occurs
There are several reasons why people lose their adult teeth. Some are unavoidable and occur from accidental trauma sustained through sports injuries or other incidents. However, other causes of tooth loss are avoidable; these include those cases caused by dental conditions that can easily be prevented. For instance, the most common cause of permanent tooth loss is periodontal disease, which erodes the gums and jawbone structure that hold your teeth steady. Periodontal disease begins as a common condition called gingivitis. Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums are the first signs that your gums are suffering from a mild infection caused by harmful oral bacteria. With good oral hygiene, gingivitis can be reversed. However, for patients who do not treat gingivitis early, when symptoms begin occurring, the disease can spread to affect other supportive tissues in your mouth and jaw – including the bone tissues that support healthy tooth function and strength.
With consistently good hygiene and regular preventive visits to your dentist’s office, you can prevent or control periodontal disease before it has a chance to cause significant damage. The same is true for other dental conditions, such as tooth decay, that can also lead to tooth loss in severe cases.
Restoration After Tooth Loss
When tooth loss does occur, it can be an emotional experience for patients who must cope with a new gap in their smile. The good news is, however, that Dr. Fondriest can restore tooth loss with extremely natural-looking tooth implants. This not only dramatically improves your smile’s aesthetic appearance, but prevents some of the negative after effects of tooth loss (including shifting teeth or jaw bone deterioration). Though other restoration treatment options are available, our practice recommends dental implants for the strongest and most long-lasting restoration. Implants, or freestanding titanium posts, are placed into the area of the missing tooth root to provide a stable foundation for a dental crown or bridge. Dental implants are the only restoration that restore the missing tooth root as well as the crown. This is why our practice chooses them time and again for effective and long-lasting tooth replacement.
Dental Implant Placement: Step-by-Step
You may be wondering what the implant placement process is like and whether or not it is painful. Rest assured that during the procedure, you will receive local anesthetic, as well as optional sedative medications, to ensure that you are comfortable and at ease while in the dentist’s chair.
At your first appointment with your prosthodontic dentist, Dr. Fondriest, he will evaluate your mouth to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. For patients with deterioration in the jaw bone, a bone graft may be required before the implant can be placed. This is simply to ensure that the implant has a firm foundation, and greatly improves the chance of a successful implant treatment. Dr. Fondriest will utilize X-rays to examine the area of your teeth and bones below the gum line. These images will help Dr. Fondriest form a treatment plan based on your unique smile.
On the day of your implant placement procedure, Dr. Fondriest will create a small incision in your gum line. He will then insert the titanium implant securely into the jaw bone. One dental implant takes about one hour to place. Once placed, Dr. Fondriest will stitch the opening in your gums closed to allow the healing process to begin. It’s important to note that dental implants require a significant healing period: usually, several months must pass before you can receive your final dental crown or bridge. This period is necessary so that a process called osseointegration can take place. During this biological process, the jaw bone accepts the dental implant and grows and develops around it. This creates the second-to-none support that make implants a superior restoration.
After Dr. Fondriest determines that your implant has fully integrated, a minor secondary procedure is needed to attach a small “cap” called an abutment to the end of the dental implant. These caps serve as the connection between an implant and the dental crown or bridge which restores the missing tooth crown(s). During this appointment, our team will take impressions or 3D images of your teeth in order to help with the fabrication of your final restoration. A dental lab will use these details to create a porcelain crown or bridge. Once the finished restoration is sent to our practice, Dr. Fondriest can securely fix it to the dental implant. Your restored tooth is complete! Though your dental crown or bridge may require replacement after some time, your dental implant will typically last a lifetime.
Contact Your Lake Forest, IL Prosthodontic Dentist
If you’re worried about tooth loss, then speak with your prosthodontic dentist about how to prevent it, or how to help your smile recover from it with a dental implant-supported prosthesis. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of the greater Chicago area, and across the United States.