It is estimated that more than 175 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. As many as 40 million Americans are missing all their teeth. Dental implants are the best solution for missing teeth. Not only do dental implants look like natural teeth, but they also function like natural teeth. However, what makes dental implants worth their weight in gold is how they function beneath your gumline. Read on for everything you need to know about dental implants, and how to find the best dental implant dentist in Anaheim.
Dental Implants: Superior Tooth Replacement
Whether you’re missing a single tooth or multiple teeth, you should consider replacing them with dental implants. Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available. The reason? Dental implants use a screw that is implanted in your jawbone. This screw acts as an artificial tooth root. Tooth roots are necessary because they help to maintain the integrity of your jawbone. When you’re missing teeth, your jawbone begins to recede, as it receives a signal that it is no longer needed to anchor the tooth to the jaw, and ultimately your skull. Diminishing jawbone leads to a sunken appearance, which can be seen in people who are not wearing dentures.
In addition to losing jawbone, missing teeth can cause other problems. You may develop a speech impediment from missing teeth. Your other teeth will also begin slowly shifting into the gap left by missing teeth. Furthermore, chewing and biting into foods can become more difficult. Finally, your likelihood of loosing other teeth once you’ve lost one increases significantly.
When looking at all the incredible benefits dental implants provide, it’s easy to see why they are preferred by dentists over other solutions including dental bridges and dentures.
Types of Dental Implants
Dental implants are available to replace single teeth, multiple teeth, or a full arch of teeth. Here’s what to know about each type of dental implant.
Single Dental Implant
A single dental implant replaces one missing tooth. Your implant surgery will consist of three different components. Your dentist will implant a titanium screw into your jawbone, using dental technology images as guides. Over the next several months, while you recover from your implant surgery, your jawbone and gum tissue will begin to grow up the screw, like it would with a natural tooth root. This process is called osseointegration.
Once you’ve fully recovered from the implant surgery, you will return to the doctor to have an abutment placed on the top of the screw. The abutment will ultimately connect your crown to your abutment.
Implant supported Bridge
An implant supported bridge may be recommended if you have a series of missing teeth in a row. Your dentist will place the implants during surgery, and then you will recover for a couple of months before returning for abutment placing. Instead of attaching a single crown, your dentist will attach crowns to both implants, and a bridge will be used to fill in the gaps between the implants.
Full Arch with Four Implants
If you’re missing all your teeth on your top or bottom jaw, full arch implants only use four strategically placed implants, and bridges throughout to complete your arch of teeth. Full arch implants are an alternative to dentures. They are fixed to your mouth and help to prevent jawbone loss.
Eligibility Requirements for Dental Implants
Many people will be eligible for dental implants. However, there are some conditions that may need to be addressed before you can begin restoring your smile with implants. Here are some conditions that need to be treated before you can receive dental implants.
To be approved for dental implants, you will need to be free of gum disease. Minor gum disease is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when plaque and bacteria irritate and inflame your gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include swollen and tender gums, or gums that bleed easily. Mild cases of gum disease can be treated with procedures such as scaling and root planing, also known as a “deep cleaning”
Periodontitis is severe gum disease. Periodontitis leads to deterioration of bone tissue and is caused by significant plaque and calculus buildup. With periodontitis your gum begins pulling away from your teeth creating pockets, which become infected, inflamed, and very painful. In addition to scaling and root planing you may need antibacterial medications or gels to treat the infection.
Significant Loss of Bone
Your dentist will need to confirm that your jawbone is dense enough to support you dental implant. If you do not have sufficient bone to support implants you may need to have a procedure known as bone grafting. Bone grafting enhances or replaces your jawbone, using your body’s own bone tissue, tissue from a tissue bank, or a synthetic material may be used. If you require bone grafting, you will need to heal for several months then return to your dentist to determine if your jawbone is ready to support a dental implant.
Smokers and those who abuse alcohol may not be suitable candidates for dental implants. If you are missing teeth, you should stop smoking immediately. Alcohol should only be consumed in safe amounts occasionally.
Certain Medications and Underlying Health Conditions
Unfortunately, if you have certain health conditions such as diabetes, or take immunosuppressants you may not be eligible for dental implants. Be sure to share your medical history with your dentist and confirm they have a full list of medications you currently take when you go for your implant consultation.
If you are pregnant, it is best to wait until you’ve had your baby to seek dental implant treatment. This is because you will need anesthesia for your surgery, which is not recommended for pregnant women unless there is an emergency.
Schedule a Consultation with a Dental Implant Dentist in Anaheim
If you’re tired of feeling embarrassed about missing teeth, or you are ready to take a proactive approach to your overall health, contact Smile Brite Dental today. Dr. Naushil Desai is a leading dental implant dentist in Anaheim. Since 1997, Dr. Desai and his team at Smile Brite Dental has provided Orange County with complete preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry treatments. Call 714-776-3535 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.