Published: September 20, 2018
Are you considering dental implants? If you’ve lost some teeth, dental implants may be a solution worth pursuing. Unlike more traditional options, dental implants are a permanent remedy to a common problem.
Many people lose teeth over the course of their lives. It might be due to decay or accident, a root canal gone awry, or because of recession of the gums caused by periodontal disease. Whatever the cause, tooth loss causes more than an unsightly smile. In fact, losing teeth can lead to serious consequences. The teeth next to the now empty space can shift or tilt into that space, causing instability and a misaligned jaw. The jawbone can lose volume because of that empty spot that deprives it of stimulation, and sore spots can develop in the mouth. So what’s the solution?
In the past, the primary answer was to install a fixed bridge. A fixed bridge is a fake tooth attached to the teeth on either side, and while it solves the problem of teeth shifting and made the mouth more aesthetically pleasing, it isn’t a perfect solution, by any means. A bridge redistributes chewing force to the bone surrounding the roots of the teeth on either side of it, which can cause a defect in the bone and gums. Also, as time goes on, the seam between the bridge and the natural tooth can become susceptible to recurrent tooth decay. Sometimes this results in the bridge needing to be redone, while other times it results in the loss of more teeth and the creation of a longer bridge.
What’s more, during the time when the fixed bridge was the best option, it wasn’t an option for everyone. Some people couldn’t afford fixed bridgework, especially if they’d lost several teeth. For those people, the solution was often partial or full dentures. Dentures aren’t a great solution either, though, because again, they don’t distribute force to the jawbone correctly. Dentures can also cause sores to develop on the gums, making it difficult to chew or even speak.
The modern solution to all this is dental implants. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root. Implanted in the jaw, this root can support one or more teeth, without relying on help from the neighboring teeth. Onto this artificial root, the dentist can attach crowns or bridges that are permanent, because they’re cemented or screwed into the implant. Because the implant is attached to the bone, it accurately distributes chewing force to the jaw, to prevent loss of bone volume.
How do you know if you need dental implants? There are several reasons you might.
- Irreparable decay can lead to tooth loss. The telltale signs that you need to have a tooth removed are recurring or lingering pain, or swelling of the gum tissue. If you have a severe toothache, talk to your dentist and see if tooth removal is the solution. It’s possible that your tooth can be replaced by a dental implant the same day, but even if it can’t, a plan can be made, and a temporary device fabricated to last until the implant can be placed.
- If your tooth is suddenly damaged, you may be able to get a dental implant the same day. Even if it’s not possible to get a permanent crown the same day, you can get a temporary crown to preserve your smile. Sometimes, however, you’ll have to wait until both your bone and tooth socket have healed from the trauma.
- Periodontal disease can necessitate dental implants, yet also make them complicated. Early warning signs of periodontal disease are recession of the gum line and teeth that are becoming increasingly mobile. Because periodontal disease involves bone loss, a bone graft must often be done before an implant can be installed. Making a plan with your dentist early can help you get the best results.
If you’re suffering tooth pain, have a broken tooth, think you might be a candidate for dental implants, or have any other dental issue that needs addressing, it’s time to find a dentist with experience and a state of the art facility. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you need look no further than Smiles Family Dental. With doctors uniquely skilled and qualified to provide exceptional dental care, and a commitment to staying at the forefront of dentistry, we provide high-quality care tailored to meet our patients’ needs. From customized treatment plans to extended office hours, we are here to help in any way we can. If you’re in Arlington, Las Colinas, or Flower Mound, visit our website to learn more about all we have to offer.