- June 14, 2015
If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you’re starting on a long and painful journey. Many people believe that the loss of a tooth indicates the end of their oral health problems, but the loss of the tooth will cause a number of problems that will definitely reduce your quality of life to a considerable degree.
Much quicker than you might realize, you’ll start to notice that chewing your food is becoming more and more difficult, and painful. People will begin having a hard time understanding you when you speak, which you’ll probably do less of because that will hurt as well. Your teeth will start to come out of alignment as they move into the empty space left by your missing tooth, and this will only worsen the misalignment of your jaws, which happens as a result of tooth loss. Jaw misalignment will put pressure on your teeth incorrectly, which will lead to fracturing, chipping, and cracking of your healthy, remaining teeth. This damage will make your vulnerable to infections which could lead to more tooth loss!
You need to act now, and Shorewood Family Dental Care in Shorewood, IL (serving the area for four decades) has the experienced dentists, skilled hygienists, and dental implant and restoration options that will save the teeth you have left, and give you your life back.
Dental Implant Options
Dental implants are artificial teeth in the truest sense of the phrase. Whether you need to replace one tooth, or even a whole arc of teeth, dental implants all have the same basic components. Solutions differ in terms of how they are arranged in your jaw, as well as the restorations and artificial teeth that are used.
A dental implant consists of three parts:
Anchor – The anchor is the “artificial tooth root”, and it is placed in your jaw, under the gums. It won’t be visible, and once its in, it is in, due in large part to the process of osseointegration which fuses the implant to your jawbone. This is possible because the anchor of your implant is made of titanium. Titanium is ideal for three key reasons: it is extremely strong, it is lightweight, and it is biocompatible, means that your body essentially “doesn’t mind” that it’s there. Titanium’s biocompatibility is what makes the fusion of implant and jawbone possible; implants have been shown to improve or restore bone density to normal levels. The anchor is threaded, like a screw.
Abutment – The abutment is the linking piece between the bottom of the implant (the anchor) and the top of the implant. Abutments can support many different kinds of artificial teeth and dental restorations.
Crown – The crown is the artificial tooth that you can see. Crowns are made from a number of materials, but they must be durable enough to take the large pressures created by your jaws as you chew food, and it must be attractive enough to look like one of your natural teeth.
The above describes a standard implant, and these are most appropriate for replacing one or a few teeth.
If you are missing many teeth, you may benefit from implant-retained dentures.
Combining the advantages of dental implants with dentures ability to replace many teeth at once (as in a full set of conventional dentures), implant retained dentures are ideal for those missing several teeth, or all of them.
If you are missing lots of your teeth, it would be impractical to replace each one with its own implant. Implant-retained dentures require only two (up to four) implants, and are used mostly for the lower jaw (upper dentures do not have the same tendency as the bottom ones to move and slip out of place). Instead of an individual crown, specialized hardware is placed on the implant. The hardware provides a firm position for the dentures, eliminating the problems caused by slipping and sliding due to poor fit (which can result in serious infections).
What if I Can’t Get Dental Implants?
Most people can receive and support dental implants (although some may need some help getting there, and will need to undergo procedures to prepare for implants, such as a bone graft or sinus lift). However, if you’re in the minority of patients who won’t ever be able to support dental implants successfully, we have traditional dentures and bridges (which can also be implant-supported, if you can get them) and other restorations to help you get as much of your ability to chew, speak, and avoid continued degradation of your oral health due to lost teeth.
Are You Ready for Your Implants?
Dental implants can be life-changing, especially if you’ve suffered a long time with lost teeth. End the pain and the embarrassment!