Tooth loss is a serious issue that affects every aspect of your life. No matter if you have lost a single tooth or you have lost an entire arch, it is essential that you have your missing teeth replaced as soon as possible. Today, there are numerous options available for replacing missing teeth, including traditional bridges, dentures, and dental implants
. At Rai Oral Surgery & Dental Implants, we can replace missing teeth with dental implants
, offering you a long-term solution that improves your smile, the functions of your mouth, and your quality of life.
Causes of Tooth Loss
There are many different causes of tooth loss. The leading cause of tooth loss is gum, or periodontal, disease. Gum disease develops as a result of a bacterial infection in your mouth. The bacteria irritate the gums, which triggers an inflammatory response from the immune system. This causes the gums to swell. Without treatment, the gums begin to pull away from your teeth, forming pockets.
Bacteria fall into the pockets and continue attacking your gums. The pockets grow deeper, and the bacteria eventually reach your periodontal ligaments and jawbone. Here, they begin attacking these supporting structures, causing them to weaken. This compromises the stability of your teeth and can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Other causes of tooth loss include:
|Facial trauma, such as a car accident, a fall, a sports injury, or a physical fight.
|Large amounts of tooth decay. When the teeth are significantly decayed, they may need to be extracted.
|Grinding and clenching your teeth. Also called bruxism, the act of grinding and clenching puts excessive amounts of pressure on your teeth and jaw. This pressure can wear away the jawbone, causing the teeth to become loose.
Effects of Tooth Loss
No matter what causes your tooth loss, or whether they fall out on their own or need to be extracted, the effects are always the same. One of the most obvious effects of tooth loss is what happens to your smile. When you have gaps in your smile, its quality suffers. This can significantly impact your confidence as well as how others see you.
Your appearance is just the beginning when it comes to tooth loss. Following tooth loss, it becomes much more difficult to properly bite and chew your food. Chewing is the first stage of digestion and helps to break down what you eat so that your body can effectively absorb the nutrients. If you are unable to properly chew your food, it becomes more difficult to digest, which can ultimately impact your overall nutrition.
Tooth loss affects your speech. The teeth control airflow and provide a surface for your tongue to hit. This allows you to make a form a variety of different words and sounds. When you suffer tooth loss, you may develop a lisp or other speech-related issues, which can impact how you can communicate.
One of the lesser known effects of tooth loss is what happens to your jawbone. Your teeth provide stimulation for the bone, which occurs every time that you chew. This stimulation tells your body to send essential nutrients to the jaw and surrounding areas. When you lose teeth, your jawbone loses the stimulation from these teeth. Because of this, your body thinks that fewer nutrients are needed and therefore sends fewer. Over time, the bone begins to lose mass and weaken. This causes the bone to change shape. Not only does this impact the alignment of your healthy teeth, but it can also impact the shape of your face. Learn more about the effect of missing teeth has on your health.
What are Dental Implants?
are a solution for missing teeth. They provide a modern alternative to traditional bridges and dentures. Treatment with dental implants consists of 3 components.
|The posts. The posts, typically made from titanium, are surgically placed into your jawbone. As you heal, your bone fuses to these posts in a natural process called osseointegration. This process essentially turns the posts into replacement roots, which are then used to provide support for your replacement teeth.
|The abutments. The abutments are the connectors. They are placed on the exposed ends of the titanium posts and provide stability for your replacement teeth.
|The crowns. The crowns are your replacement teeth. Typically made from ceramic, they restore your smile as well as your abilities to eat and speak.
Meeting a Variety of Needs
Everyone has different needs. You may have lost a single tooth, or you may have lost several. Dental implants are a versatile treatment that can be used to meet many different needs.
|Single tooth implants. A single tooth implant replaces an individual tooth. A single post supports a single crown. You can have just one implant replacing a single missing tooth or several single tooth implants in your mouth.
|Multiple tooth implants. This treatment is used to replace a section of teeth. The number of posts implanted depends on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and your jawbone.
|Full arch replacement. A full arch replacement uses 6 to 8 implant posts to provide support for a full arch of replacement teeth.
|All on 4. All on 4 is an alternative type of full arch replacement that is used when the bone is too weak to support the necessary posts. Instead, the treatment uses 4 strategically placed posts to maximize contact with the bone and osseointegration.
A Brief History of Dental Implants
Dental implants have been around for thousands of years. They can be found in skeletal remains all over the world. In these cases, implants were typically placed after death to prepare the body for the afterlife.
Modern dental implants are the result of an accidental discovery made in the 1950s. During this time, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon by the name of Per-Ingvar Brånemark was researching bone healing and regeneration. At one point during his research, he implanted a titanium cylinder into the femur of a rabbit. Later, when he went to remove it, he found that the bone had begun fusing with the cylinder, and it could not easily be removed.
This discovery led Brånemark to conduct further research. Eventually, he developed dental implants, the first of which was successfully placed in 1965. Following this success, Brånemark continued his research to improve his new invention. Over time, he formed a partnership with Bofors AB, now known as Nobelpharma. This company eventually founded what is now called Nobel Biocare. This company is solely devoted to dental implant products. Over the years, many improvements have been made, improving stability, strength, and success of dental implants. Even today, research continues, and discoveries are being made all of the time.
Getting Your Dental Implants
Dental implants require surgery for placement. Surgery is done under a local anesthetic so that you do not feel any pain during the procedure. Sedation is also provided, which allows you to feel relaxed and comfortable during your treatment. Surgery begins with small incisions in your gums, which provides access to the jawbone. Next, small holes are drilled into the bone, and the implant posts are placed directly inside. Your gums are sutured closed, and temporary teeth are set onto your implant posts.
Healing after implant surgery can take several weeks to several months. During this time, the bone fuses to the posts, stabilizing them within your jaw. Several follow up appointments enable us to monitor your healing and make sure that there are no complications. Once you have fully healed, the temporary teeth are removed and impressions are taken of your mouth. These impressions are used to design and create your final dental restorations, which are screwed securely into place on your dental implants.
What Benefits Do Implants Provide?
Dental implants provide many significant benefits. These include:
|A completely natural appearance. The ceramic crowns look exactly like your real teeth. Ceramic not only matches the color of your teeth but also reflects light just like your tooth enamel.
|Feeling and functioning just like your real teeth. Your dental implants feel exactly like your real teeth. You do not need to get used to a foreign object in your mouth. They also function just like your real teeth, restoring your abilities to eat and speak.
|Greater comfort. Your replacement teeth are supported by the posts, which are supported by your jawbone, rather than by your gums or adjacent teeth.
|Providing a long-term, even permanent, solution to tooth loss. As you heal, your jawbone fuses to the posts, stabilizing the posts within your jaw. These posts essentially become a part of your jaw. The crowns are secured into place on the posts with small screws. They are only removed if maintenance is needed. Even if the crowns need to be replaced, this can be done without removing the posts.
|Preserving the integrity of your jawbone. The implant posts restore the stimulation to your jawbone. This stops bone loss in your jaw and prevents new bone loss from occurring. Your jaw remains strong and healthy.
Dental implants provide you with a long-term, even permanent, the solution to tooth loss, restoring the functions of your missing teeth, the beauty of your smile, and your overall quality of life. For more information
, and to find out if dental implants
are right for you, call Rai Oral Surgery & Dental Implants at (757) 777-9883 to schedule your appointment today.
Learn More About Dental Implants:
Call us at (757) 777-9883 to schedule your consultation about dental implants.