Let’s face it: once you move past a certain age, losing a tooth is bad news. Unfortunately, adult tooth loss is a serious problem in the U.S. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million American adults have one or more missing teeth. For centuries, dental bridges have served as the tooth replacement option of choice, but with new advances in dental technology, dental implants have become the gold standard of dental prosthetics. Dr. James Fondriest, your Lake Forest restorative and cosmetic dentist, discusses some of the problems associated with missing teeth as well as the benefits of single tooth implants.
One Missing Tooth, Several Serious Problems
If you lose one of your front teeth, you will probably try to replace it as quickly as possible. However, a tooth missing from anywhere in your mouth can cause more problems that just a funky looking smile.Spaces in the dental arch encourage your remaining teeth to move and shift. This movement throws off the alignment of your teeth, creating overlaps and crowding that encourage the growth of bacterial plaque between teeth. This increases your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, shifting teeth can cause malocclusion, or problems with your bite. Malocclusion could lead to a number of painful problems with your TMJs.
Missing teeth can leave unsightly gaps in your smile and even endanger your overall dental health. Patients with missing teeth may also feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Fortunately, a breakthrough dental procedure exists for replacing teeth. Dental implants are strong and esthetically pleasing, helping your smile stay beautiful and secure. Dr. James Fondriest, discusses the many implant benefits to cosmetic dentistry
Replacing Missing Teeth is One of the Implant Benefits
When a patient loses a tooth, the body immediately responds by suspending the flow of crucial nutrients to the bone surrounding the tooth. Starved of essential doses of calcium and phosphorus, your jawbone can begin to lose bone density. Bone loss threatens the stability of your adjacent teeth. Bone loss also affect facial structure, leading to the development of jowls, a sunken appearance, or a ptotic chin. In addition, when a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth soon start drifting towards the empty socket. This causes a misaligned bite, which can make chewing and speaking difficult. Replacing a missing tooth is vital for protecting and preserving your smile.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacement teeth that are anchored into the socket of a missing tooth. Made of biocompatible materials, the body accepts the implants as natural teeth, resuming the flow of vital nutrients and preventing further bone loss. Dental implants look and act just like natural teeth and can provide a lifetime of quality restoration.
Dental Implants vs. Bridges
Dental bridges are often recommended to replace a missing tooth. A bridge is composed of a replacement tooth with crowns attached to each side. The crowns are placed on the teeth sitting on either side of the missing socket, securing the replacement tooth into place. Bridges require the loss of tooth structure in order to place the crowns. Another of the implant benefits is that dental implants don’t need teeth to hold them into place, they preserve more of a patient’s healthy tooth structure. Implants can also be used to support dental bridges.
For patients with major tooth loss, Dr. Fondriest may recommend implant-retained dentures. Dental implants have several benefits over traditional dentures. Removable dentures require the use of messy adhesives, and can even slip when the wearer is talking or chewing. Traditional dentures can also increase the loss of bone density. As the dentures batter the jaw during use, the rate of bone loss elevates substantially. Dental implant-retained dentures prevent bone loss and provide permanent dentures. Patients no longer need to fear the use of adhesives or endure any embarrassing slips.
Benefits of Receiving Your Dental Implants
The first step in receiving dental implants involves a consultation with Dr. Fondriest. After a thorough oral examination, Dr. Fondriest will decide if dental implants provide the best method of addressing your dental needs. Often, loss of bone dentistry causes patients to lack the necessary bone tissue to support the implants. If that is the case, Dr. Fondriest may recommend a bone graft.
Next, Dr. Fondriest will work with local specialists to prepare the area and ensure your new implants work with your unique facial structure. A special titanium post is then anchored into the socket of the missing tooth. Once placed, Dr. Fondriest will wait three to six months for the area to heal and the bone tissue to bond with the post. This process is known as ossteointegration, and helps secure your new implant. When the healing period has ended, Dr. Fondriest will add an abutment to the post. On this abutment he will place your custom-made crown. The crown will be shaded to blend seamlessly with your smile, and will be attached to the post using a powerful bonding agent. Once completed, you will leave with a beautiful, whole smile.
Dental Implants: The Best Restorative Option
While dental bridges rest on top of the gums and require the removal of healthy enamel from the neighboring teeth, dental implants are literally implanted in to the jaw and help improve the health of the entire mouth. A single tooth dental implants is comprised of three primary parts:
1) The Implant. An oral surgeon places the titanium implant into the jaw where it integrates with the bone tissue and takes the place of a natural tooth root.
2) The Abutment. Once the implant has fully healed, a process that requires 3-6 months, an abutment that will secure the crown to the implant is placed.
3) The Restoration. An artfully designed, expertly crafted porcelain or zirconia crown is affixed to the abutment.
Would a single tooth implant be right for you?
While most wearers say that having a dental implant is the closest thing to having your healthy, natural tooth back, not everyone qualifies for dental implant placement. Strong jawbone density and a lack of significant oral health issues, such a gum disease or tooth decay, are prerequisites for dental implants.
Learn more about single tooth dental implants
To schedule a consultation, contact us at (847) 234-0517. Cosmetic dentist, Dr. Fondriest proudly offers restorative dentistry services to patients from Lake Forest and the North Shore suburbs near Chicago.