At Woodcreek Dental, we know that losing a tooth can affect your smile and your self-confidence. Dental implants are a great way to replace lost teeth and restore beautiful, confident smiles.
Dental implants are put in place to replace the crown and root. Tooth loss can be the result of trauma, poor diet, oral neglect, genetics, or lifestyle habits like smoking. The treatment procedure is not just for cosmetic purposes. Leaving gaps in your teeth sacrifices the optimal function of neighboring teeth and can significantly impair the quality of your life.
Reasons to Invest in Dental Implants
When you lose a tooth, the adjacent teeth begin shifting towards the created space. This shift eventually changes how your teeth come together. Misaligned (malocclusion) teeth are more prone to chipping, breaking, and uneven wear and tear.
The roots of your natural teeth help keep your jawbone strong and healthy. When you lose a tooth, the bone in the surrounding area loses stimulation. As a result, the jawbone begins to atrophy or deteriorate and change in shape. Over time, your face appears sunken, and you begin to look older.
Dental implants can help prevent bone loss from happening as they are anchored into the jawbone. Bridgework and dentures are unable to offer this benefit, unless you opt for implant supported dentures or bridges.. Keeping the jawbone healthy also prevents the loss of additional remaining teeth.
People with missing teeth are also subject to chronic headaches and gum disease. The headaches are a result of problems with the jaw joint brought on by misaligned teeth. As teeth shift, they can become difficult to clean, resulting in gum disease and accelerated tooth decay and further tooth loss.
The Implant Procedure
Installing dental implants is a two-step procedure. The first part involves setting a screw or cylinder-like object into the jawbone. This piece is called an implant, and it acts as an artificial root and is made of titanium. A slit is made into the gum tissue, and a drill is used to create a hole in the jawbone where it will anchor.
Before a permanent tooth is placed above the new root, it must heal and bond to the surrounding bone for structural integrity and strength. Healing and bonding can take two to six months. As we wait for this to happen, our dentist will place a temporary tooth or cap over the implant site.
The second part of the dental implant procedure involves attaching a permanent tooth called a crown. A small titanium, gold or porcelain post called an abutment acts as the connector for this part of the procedure. The abutment attaches to the implant with a screw, and the crown is screwed on to it.
Changes to the jawbone start occurring three months after tooth loss. We recommend replacing any lost teeth before this period as restoring degraded bone is an intensive and more complicated process. You will require a bone graft if an implant procedure occurs after the onset of bone loss.
Schedule a dental implant appointment with us at Woodcreek Dental at (805) 482-6389 today. Implants can dramatically change your whole outlook and give you a new lease on life.