Bridging the Gap With Dental Implants
Missing teeth from injury or decay can have a significant impact on your smile, but also on your overall oral health. While there are many options available to bridge the gap, including partial dentures and dental bridges, dental implants are the strongest, longest-lasting solution to replacing missing teeth.
You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Hage at Smile Designers. He is a dental professional practicing in San Diego near Sports Arena, serving La Jolla. If you have one or more missing teeth, here’s what you need to know about dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants replace the entire missing tooth from root to crown, using a titanium screw inserted into the jawbone and a natural-looking porcelain crown attached to the screw with an abutment. Once the screw fuses with your jawbone, it is attached to the permanent crown, which is color-matched to the rest of your teeth. Dental implants look, feel, and function just like natural teeth and last for decades with proper care.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants are much stronger and more durable than dental bridges or partial dentures, but the primary benefit is the impact on your overall oral health. Without a natural or artificial tooth root in place, the jawbone will start to deteriorate and in turn affect the stability and health of the teeth surrounding the gap. Other benefits of dental implants include:
- Restores bite force, allowing you to eat all your favorite foods
- Enables natural speech, which can be hindered by other tooth replacement options
- Resistant to cavities and decay
- Supports adjacent teeth
- No embarrassing slippage, which can happen with partial dentures
- Easy to care for, only requiring regular brushing and flossing
- Permanent solution to tooth loss, unlike bridges and dentures that must be replaced over time
What happens during the dental implant procedure?
The dental implant procedure takes two appointments, with a few months of healing time in between. For the implantation part of the procedure, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic, make an incision into the gums, and insert the titanium screw into the jawbone. The incision will get stitched up and you’ll be fitted with a temporary partial denture or retainer to protect the space while it heals. After 3-5 months, the titanium screw becomes fully fused with your jawbone through a process called osseointegration. Once that is done, the dentist will attach the abutment and permanent porcelain crown to the screw.
How successful are dental implants?
About 95% of dental implants are successful and long-lasting. For the remaining 5%, dental implant failure is caused by poor implant positioning during the initial procedure, inability for the jawbone to fuse to the implant, infection, and poor dental hygiene. And of course, mouth injuries can also result in the need to replace an implant, just like a natural tooth would require. Although dental implants are more costly at the outset than other tooth replacement options, over time the costs even out because where other options must be replaced, dental implants are a permanent, one-time investment that have many more other benefits compared to the alternatives.
Show off your full, bright smile once again with dental implants
Everyone feels great showing off a full, bright smile, but if you have a missing tooth, getting it replaced is about more than aesthetics—your overall oral health is at stake. To learn more about dental implants or to schedule a consultation, call Smile Designers Dentistry San Diego at (619) 222-6000