Replace A Tooth With An Implant, And Your Mouth Won’t Even Know It’s Gone
By Dr. Anasinski
When you lose a tooth to either extraction or trauma, the tooth root is no longer in the jawbone keeping it and your gum tissue stimulated and alive. After the tooth root has been gone for a while, the bone begins to resorb (deteriorate) and bone loss occurs. When a tooth is replaced using traditional methods such as dental bridges, an artificial tooth fills up the space where your tooth once was, but the gum and jawbone are still missing the tooth root. And when traditional bridges are used to replace a missing tooth, the bridge is stabilized by attaching to the adjoining teeth, which can eventually weaken them or even cause decay.
Dental implants eliminate all of the side effects that can be a part of replacing a tooth with traditional methods. An implant is a titanium screw that is placed in your jawbone where the missing tooth root once resided. Even though a screw is used, it is not ‘screwed’ into your bone; instead, the ridges of the screw grow into the bone in a process called osseointegration where the implant actually becomes a part of your jawbone, taking the place of the missing tooth root. Because the implant joins with the bone, the jawbone and gum tissue react to it in the same way that they did to your tooth root, and they remain healthy. In fact the bone that holds the implant can actually become more dense and you won’t experience bone loss or gum recession.
A dental implant has three parts: the screw that is placed in the jawbone; an abutment that protrudes above the gum to hold the artificial tooth; and the crown or artificial tooth that looks, feels and functions like a natural tooth. Once the implant is placed, it usually takes a while for the gum to heal and the implant to secure in the bone. In some processes, the abutment is placed at a later date when an incision is made into the gum to join the abutment with the implanted screw. In other procedures, the abutment is attached to the implant at the same time that the screw is placed in the jawbone. When healing has taken place, the artificial tooth is placed on the abutment. We will recommend the method that is best for you.
If your original tooth has been gone for some time before an implant is done, you may already have experienced some bone loss. If this is the case, we can do what is called a “ridge modification” where your gum is lifted away from your bone ridge and bone or bone substitute is placed in the indented area where the bone loss has occurred. The incision in your gum is closed and the area is allowed to heal and the bone to regenerate. This process usually takes about four to twelve months at which time an implant can be placed in the regenerated bone.
With a thorough examination, we will be able to tell you whether or not you are a candidate for an immediate dental implant or if ridge modification will be needed in order to prepare your bone for the implant procedure.
Thanks to modern dental technology, a missing tooth no longer needs to negatively impact your oral health. With the use of a dental implant, your mouth won’t even realize your tooth is gone!