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The loss of a tooth or multiple teeth can make life more challenging. Not only can it become more difficult to eat your favorite foods, but having missing teeth can also affect your self-esteem. You may also find that with a missing tooth, the adjacent teeth may start drifting or crowding and your jawbone may begin to deteriorate.

If you find that you lost a tooth due to a traumatic incident or it is extracted due to a large cavity or periodontal disease, a dental implant may be the right choice for you. These realistic looking implants can restore your smile, your oral health, and your confidence.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are essentially a titanium screw that mimics a tooth root and is installed in the jawbone. A custom crown is placed on top of the implant, which replicates the appearance of a real tooth, while also providing the feel and function of an actual tooth. They look extremely similar to the surrounding teeth, and they blend perfectly into your smile. The Benefits of a Dental Implant (and the Risks of Not Replacing Missing Teeth) A dental implant is amazing for boosting your confidence and completing your smile — but those aren’t the only advantages. The placement of a dental implant actually has a variety of benefits—some of which are vital to your overall dental health.

Here are some of the benefits of having a dental implant placed:

  • A complete, gorgeous smile.
  • A functional tooth that helps with the ability to properly chew food
  • Improved speech (with the removal of dentures).
  • Preservation of the jaw bone, which can otherwise suffer from bone loss.

Now that you know the benefits of undergoing a dental implant procedure, it’s important to understand what may happen if you do not have a dental implant installed.

Some of the negative impacts of a gap in your teeth are:

  • Change in face and bone structure.
  • Bone loss in the jawbone.
  • Teeth migration.
  • Lower self-esteem.
  • Difficultly eating food.
  • Difficulty with ensuring proper oral hygiene.

Dental implants—while making your smile more aesthetically pleasing—may be necessary for the health of your jawbone, the surrounding teeth and your mouth overall. Our teeth and bone work hand in hand to hold each other in place. Upon the loss of a tooth, the surrounding bone will recede. An implant ensures that the bone stays at its appropriate level. Also, like books on a book shelf, when a tooth is extracted the adjacent teeth may tilt or drift, which may alter your bite. The change in how your teeth come together can create jaw pain/problems.

The Process of Having Dental Implants Installed

There are actually a few steps that go into the placement of dental implants—the first of which being a consultation with your dentist who will review the many options for replacing a missing tooth.

If you have a tooth that needs to be removed, this may be a good time to ask your dentist if you are a candidate for implants. Certain steps may need to be taken following the extraction to ensure the preservation of surrounding bone to provide for a more predictable implant placement. For example, if there is not enough bone present to predictably place the implant you may require an additional procedure called a bone graft.

Following the extraction your dentist may suggest that you have a special 3D dental CD scan performed to evaluate the remaining bone for implant placement. If the site is ready, the titanium implant will be surgically placed and undergo a healing period when it will properly integrate into the jawbone. After a few months an impression is taken so that your crown can be fabricated at a lab custom for your mouth.

The Difference Between Implants and Bridges

There are a few different options for replacing missing teeth. Implants possess many advantages over choosing a dental bridge to restore a tooth borne space.

  • Implants can help preserve bone, where bridges cannot.
  • The process of installing an implant doesn’t require the aggressive grinding and reshaping of potentially healthy adjacent teeth.
  • Bridges can be tedious to clean while an implant is cared for similar to a natural tooth.

While implants are generally a more predictable solution, there will be occasions where an implant is not an option or a bridge may actually be a more logical choice. There may not be enough bone in your jaw to properly support the implant or the teeth adjacent to the space may need to be restored with crowns. If this is the case, a bridge may be a valid alternative.

Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Like with any dental procedure, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine what is the most appropriate treatment for your specific need. In order to determine if you are a candidate for implants your dentist may perform a periodontal screening to determine the health of your surrounding gum and bone. A thorough medical history will be performed. If you have uncontrolled diabetes or take certain medicines for weak bones or osteoporosis you may have delayed healing or complications with the implant integrating into your bone.

Smoking cigarettes will also decrease the success rate and prognosis of the implant. With a dental implant, not only will you avoid unnecessary bone loss and the potential for tooth movement or drifting, but you’ll feel like your smile is complete again, and the functionality of your bite will improve.

Contact West Mobile Dental Center

We are conveniently located at 6207 Collage Hill Rd. in Mobile, AL. We can be reached at (251) 666-3600. Contact us today to start your journey towards optimum oral health and a smile you can be proud of with superior dental implants.