Why Replace A Missing Tooth?
Teeth can go missing for various reasons including severe decay, infection and trauma and is something that many people will experience during their lives. When this happens it is important to replace the missing tooth as soon as possible because the empty space in your mouth opens the door for the other teeth to start moving around which can come with serious side effects.
When a tooth goes missing, nearby teeth can start to tilt toward the empty space or the teeth in the opposite jaw may move up or down towards the space. This places stress on both the teeth and tissues in your mouth and teeth that have tipped are more difficult to clean making them more likely to decay. Missing teeth can also affect how you speak and chew your food. Trying to compensate and chewing food on only one side can increase the risks of a TMJ disorder or other jaw pain and problems.
Any natural teeth that need or have been extracted should be replaced as soon as possible! Call our office at 619-482-5555 or request an appointment online to come in and have us take a look. We can discuss all of your tooth replacement options and get your smile looking and functioning back to normal.
What Are Dental Implants
An implant is a titanium "root" which can be placed into the jawbone. Once integrated with your bone, the implant can be used to support a crown, a bridge, or secure a complete denture. Dental implants may be used to eliminate partial plates and dentures. Implants have been used successfully for over thirty years, have a high success rate and function and feel like your natural teeth. Dental implants are now the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant treatment represents a slightly greater investment than conventional treatment; however, the benefits of implant therapy for most patients outweigh the minor additional cost involved.
Please visit our Implant FAQs to get answers to the most common questions about the dental implant process from the first consultation, to getting them places, and the final cost.
Multiple Tooth Implants
Multiple tooth implants may be placed if you need or desire to permanently replace an extracted or lost tooth. Titanium implant bases are placed into the jawbone to replace the job of the tooth roots. We allow a period of time to allow for the jawbone to heal over the bases before fitting for a crown. Next, abutments are screwed into the bases of the implants to allow crowns to be attached. Finally, custom fabricated crowns are placed over the abutments and will function like a real tooth.
Implant Supported Dentures
This implant technique, is the optimal solution for those who have lost or are about to lose all of their upper and/or lower teeth. It's a procedure that comes closest to having a new set of permanent teeth.
Dental Implants vs. Dentures vs. Bridges
Dental implants replace the entire tooth root without having to affect surrounding teeth. Dentures can not only look unnatural and feel unpleasant, but they require frequent dental visits for adjustments or even complete replacement. Additionally, full arch dentures lead to bone resorption (shrinkage) of the jaw thus changing your facial appearance and requiring even further treatment. Bridges require the surrounding teeth to be modified to place the bridge. Because a bridge does not replace the tooth root, gums and bone at the missing tooth site recede, leading to an unsightly and even embarrassing appearance. Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option that offers all the benefits of a real tooth and none of the problems experienced with dentures or bridges. Compare the benefits below...
Additional Implant Procedures
If you have been missing your tooth for an extended period of time then additional procedures to place your implant may need to occur. Bone loss is the most common barrier preventing an implant from being placed immediately. When a tooth has been missing for a while the bone in the socket and the surrounding areas will begin to deteriorate and it may be necessary to regenerate or replace the bone in the areas of loss. It is also possible that the sinus cavity is too large or low for the implant to be successfully placed and it will need a lift to make the room for the new implant.
In the back of the upper jaw bone, dental implants are frequently needed. In order for a dental implant to be successful in this area of the mouth, there must be sufficient bone height and width to connect (integrate) to the dental implant. When the upper back teeth are lost and not replaced, the sinus cavity becomes enlarged destroying any bone that is left behind. This very large sinus is like a "giant air pocket" and not capable of supporting an implant. A procedure known as sinus grafting (sinus lift) is performed to create bone that will ultimately hold the implants within the sinus. Sinus grafting is an extremely common form of bone grafting.
When a tooth is lost, both bone and gum tissue compete for the vacant space. The gum tissue generates more quickly than bone, subsequently occupying the space. With a membrane placement we can keep the gum tissue from invading the space, which will ideally give the bone sufficient time to regenerate. Bone regeneration is often used to rebuild the supporting structures around the teeth, which have been destroyed by periodontal disease. Bone surgery may be used to attempt to rebuild or reshape bone. Grafts of the patient's bone or artificial bone may be used, as well as special membranes.
When a tooth is extracted and an implant is to be placed (either simultaneously or in the future) it is always necessary to complete bone grafting within the residual sockets that are left behind after the roots of the tooth are removed. The shape of the tooth root is always different from the shape of a dental implant and hence there are always residual socket defects (holes) that must be filled in so that there can be excellent contact of the implant to the newly formed bone.
What is the cost of Dental Implant Treatment?
The actual cost of dental implant treatment is based on a number of factors, such as the number of missing teeth being replaced, the type of implant supported teeth (treatment option) recommended and whether additional procedures are necessary to achieve the proper esthetic and functional result. The only way to accurately estimate the cost for an individual patient is to have an examination and consultation with your dental specialist. The total fee is usually comparable to other methods of tooth replacement; however, long-term, implant treatment is generally more cost effective than other options, such as bridges, partials and dentures that need to be replaced every 5-10 years.