If you are missing a tooth, or several teeth, you are not alone. It is common to lose teeth at some point in your life, often due to periodontal disease, tooth decay, or injury. However, most people still feel very uncomfortable revealing their imperfect smiles to the world. Along with self confidence, missing teeth can also negatively effect your ability to chew and bite down properly. This can lead to headaches, jaw pain, and even more damage. You do not have to live with the embarrassment or discomfort of missing teeth. There is more than one option for tooth replacement, but dental implants are the closest to the real thing you can get.
Dental implants are the best tooth replacement for patients who want the most natural look and feel when replacing missing teeth. Unlike dentures, dental implants are permanently in place. Eating, talking, chewing, and smiling all feel normal with dental implants. There is no hassle of removing them at night or after meals. They also do not require special pastes or cleaning solutions like dentures. Much like their natural look and feel, dental implants can be cared for right along with your real teeth. With proper upkeep and routine dental appointments, they can also last a lifetime.
It is imperative to schedule a consultation with a periodontist if you are considering dental implants. The health of your gums, mouth, and the underlying bone will determine if you are a good candidate for implant surgery. The best candidates for implants have little to no bone erosion in their jaw. Healthy gums are also a big plus when considering dental implant surgery. Age can be a factor – if the patient is a juvenile, the jaw bone is likely not yet fully developed. Patients under 18 are often still growing, and an implant can shift or be rejected as the jaw bone grows.
Common hurdles that may be encountered can include deterioration of the jaw bone, erosion of the gums, and periodontal disease. Luckily, many issues can be resolved when you partner with your dentist and periodontist. The most important factor for dental implants is a strong foundation. Jaw bone that is broken down will likely not support dental implants. Bone graft surgery is a common way to rebuild and strengthen the jaw bone. For eroded gums, gingival graft surgery may be an option to restore the gums. If you have periodontal disease, you may need to undergo root planing and scaling, along with an at home oral health care routine for a period of time. Once the disease is under control, your periodontist will reexamine you and determine your candidacy for dental implants.