If you have a missing tooth, you might not feel like smiling. But you don’t have to live with an embarrassing gap between your teeth if you don’t want to. Plenty of options exist to replace a missing tooth. That’s good to know because a missing tooth doesn’t just leave a hole in your smile — it may also affect how you speak and chew. And if a missing tooth isn’t replaced, the teeth around it begin to move. Shifting teeth create new crevices for dental plaque to hide in, which can lead to tooth decay and the need for a tooth filling or gum disease treatment down the road.
Implant dentistry is a popular option for replacing a missing tooth. Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures or using adjacent teeth as anchors like a dental bridge, dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone where they act as an anchor for replacement teeth. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth, allowing you to chew and speak just like you did before.
Dental implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth or all of them. Dental implants can also be used to anchor a bridge or dentures into place. If you need to have all of your teeth replaced, implant-supported dentures are ideal, providing more stability than traditional dentures and costing less than a complete set of single dental implants.
Just like any surgery, the dental implant procedure will be more successful if you are healthy. That means practicing excellent oral hygiene, eating well and not smoking. Patients must also maintain a significant amount of jaw bone to support dental implants. Discuss your pre-existing medical conditions with Dr. Braddy. He can best determine if you are a candidate for dental implants.
Remember, if properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime! Although the replaced tooth itself can’t get cavities, you still need to brush and floss the area to remove dental plaque buildup. Regular dental visits every six months are also recommended. If you think dental implants might be right for you, talk to our dentists! We look forward to hearing from you.