Finding a way to repair a missing tooth is a must. Leaving an empty gap can lead to bone loss, shifting teeth, and painful gums. At Beautiful Smiles in Woodland CA, we are here to help you find the perfect solution, and should a dental implant be right for you, we can get you through every step to restore your beautiful and confident smile. This is a great and permanent solution that a large percentage of our patients are candidates for.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post that we can surgically install into your jaw that behaves in a very similar way to your natural tooth’s root. This piece is incredibly versatile and gives you the freedom to find the perfect artificial tooth appliance for your needs. For example’s sake, we can attach anything from a crown to a bridge to full sets of dentures to implants so that you do not have to worry about the hassle that can come alongside a removable prosthetic.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a great option for most of our Woodland patients. It is a permanent solution, whereas removable prosthetics can cause more damage over time to your gums and bone. Without a tooth root stimulating the bone as you chew, your jaw is subject to bone loss, which can not only be painful but can make it increasingly difficult to repair damage as time goes on. Implants also offer the benefits of stability and comfort. When you have dental implants to replace your missing tooth or teeth, they feel as natural as your regular teeth, and you will forget you even have them! This also means that you are free to eat whatever you like and your flavor sensitivities do not change—both of which are options taken from you with a removable prosthetic.
What is the Dental Implant Process?
Getting a dental implant is a relatively straightforward process, but one major concern we have going into any operation is your bone density. Having too little bone mass in your jaw can have a significant impact on the ability of implants to properly integrate into the jaw. Without enough bone mass, you lack the necessary support that dental implants require. This can result in implants that are loose or that do not integrate at all, both of which can lead to implant failure. If you have had a missing tooth for quite some time, you may find that you have suffered significant bone loss. This can make it so that your jaw is simply not strong enough to support an implant. If this is the case, do not worry. A bone graft can solve that problem; it will simply add more time to your procedure.
When it is time for your implant, we will administer an anesthetic to numb the area (or a sedative if you so choose) and we will make an incision in your gums. This is how we will access the bone. Then, we will insert and install the titanium post, and that will be left to heal. Once the implant post is fully fused with the bone several months later, a permanent crown, bridge, or denture will be installed at our Woodland practice.
Osseointegration is a natural process that occurs during your recovery following dental implant surgery. This is the process during which your natural bone fuses to the titanium posts, integrating them into the jaw. The process was discovered completely by accident in 1952 by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Bråenmark. While Bråenmark was researching bone healing and regeneration, he implanted a titanium cylinder into a rabbit femur. When he went to remove it later, he found that the bone had begun to fuse to the cylinder. This sparked further research and development, which eventually led to the very first modern day dental implants. Even today, research and development are still being done, helping to improve the reliability of dental implants and make the process of osseointegration easier.
Why Should I Replace Missing Teeth?
When you lose your teeth, your mouth goes through many changes. Obvious changes include those in your ability to eat, your ability to speak, and in the appearance of your smile. Losing your teeth also leads to the loss of bone mass in your jaw. The teeth are critical for maintaining jaw health and strength. When you chew, the roots of your teeth stimulate the jawbone. This triggers your body to send essential nutrients that your jaw needs. Tooth loss lessens the amount of stimulation the jaw receives. As a result, fewer nutrients are sent, and bone begins to grow weak.
When you replace missing teeth with dental implants, osseointegration will occur. Successful osseointegration turns the titanium posts into strong, stable roots that provide support for your new teeth. These new roots imitate the functions of the roots of your natural teeth, down to the stimulation of the jawbone. With stimulation restored, your body begins sending the necessary nutrients again, which aids in preventing the bone loss that accompanies tooth loss, helping to keep your jawbone strong and healthy. Dental implants act as a natural tooth replacement, which is why they are the best solution to replace missing teeth.
Permanent vs. Removable Tooth Loss Solutions
Tooth loss occurs for a variety of reasons. No matter how you lose your teeth, however, the effects are all the same. Eating and speaking, basic functions you barely spend any time thinking about, become difficult. Your smile is affected, which can deteriorate your confidence. You also begin to lose bone mass in the jaw, which then leads to your healthy teeth shifting out of alignment and throwing off your bite. Replacing your missing teeth is essential to restoring the functions of your mouth, your oral health, and your smile. There are both permanent and removable solutions for tooth loss. Beautiful Smiles can help you to decide the best option for your needs.
Bridges are a traditional solution for replacing one, two or three missing teeth in any given area of your mouth. There are a few different types of bridges, the most common being a fixed bridge. This bridge, typically made from ceramic or porcelain, consists of the replacement teeth set between two dental crowns. The crowns are used to anchor the bridge in place on the healthy teeth on both sides of the space. A bridge requires the removal of some of the enamel from these teeth to create the necessary space. The bridge is then cemented into place, making it a non-removable option. While considered permanent, bridges do not stop bone loss in the jaw, and therefore may need to be replaced over time as the jaw weakens underneath the replacement teeth.
Partial and Full Dentures
Partial and full dentures are traditional, removable solutions for replacing missing teeth. Partial dentures replace sections of missing teeth while full dentures replace an entire arch. These restorations consist of an acrylic base that supports your replacement teeth. The base is designed to sit directly on your gums and relies on the gums for support. They are meant to be removed each night for special cleaning and should be left out of your mouth, soaking in a denture cleaning solution, while you sleep. This gives your gums, the tissue that was not made to support the pressures put on them by dentures, a chance to rest and recover. Dentures also do not stop the bone loss that occurs following tooth loss, and therefore need to be replaced periodically to accommodate the changing jaw.
Dental implants are a more recent option for replacing missing teeth but have quickly become the most popular. They can be used to replace any number of missing teeth, whether you are missing only one or you are missing all of them. Implants use small titanium posts that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. The bone fuses to the posts as you heal, integrating the posts into the jaw. Successful fusion turns the posts into stable roots that hold your replacement crowns securely in place. Dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss. The posts stimulate your jawbone just like your natural teeth, which restores the delivery of essential nutrients. This aids in stopping and preventing bone loss in the jaw, keeping the jaw strong and healthy.
Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation
Beautiful Smiles in Woodland CA is here to help you through whatever help you need. If you have any questions at all concerning an upcoming procedure, or if you want to know if you could be a potential dental implant candidate, feel free to call us at (530) 206-9211.