Whether it is one tooth, several or most of your teeth that are missing, it can have a devastating effect on your self-esteem and confidence, as well as impacting the function of your mouth. Nevertheless, tooth loss is extremely common, with most people losing at least one natural tooth by the age of 35 and more than half of all adults have lost at least 50% of their teeth by the time they reach 50 years of age.
The good news is that the prevalence of tooth loss has meant that experts have invested heavily in solutions that are designed to restore the function and appearance of your teeth. Dental implants are one of the newest, most unique and arguably most successful of all treatments that can return your smile to its former glory and enable you to use your teeth without compromise.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a very popular and effective solution for restoring missing teeth. Dental implants have a very unique design. Each has three elements. These are:
- A titanium post. This is used to replace the natural root of the affected tooth. This artificial alternative becomes embedded in the jaw when the bone heals around it, securing it in place. This is inserted surgically, in a procedure carried out using local anesthetic.
- A connector. This is used to connect the implant post to the bespoke, porcelain crown (see below).
- A porcelain crown. This makes up the visible part of the solution and is bespoke, created specifically in the shape, size, and color needed for it to blend in and become invisible when compared to natural teeth.
Dental implant technology can be used to replace just one tooth or an entire arch. In single implants, a single post is needed to support the prosthetic. In bridges, generally, two implant posts are used. However, when it comes to a partial or full denture, it may be necessary to implant up to eight posts to support the arch of artificial teeth.
Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
There are various things to consider when it comes to determining if whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. Patients should have:
- Good general health
- Good oral health with no obvious dental work needing to be completed ahead of receiving your dental implant
- No sign of gum disease (since gum disease can threaten the viability of dental implants)
- A commitment to a robust oral hygiene routine, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups
Patients considering dental implants should also make sure that they don’t smoke. This is important since smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease and hinders the healing process, reducing your likelihood of successful dental implants
Patients should also be assessed to ensure that there is enough healthy bone in the jaw to support the new growth. If you have an insufficient healthy bone in your jaw, you may first need a procedure that is known as bone grafting. This is where the bone is taken from another part of your body, or artificial bone is used, and then grated onto the part of your jaw that needs regeneration. It takes several months for the procedure to be successful, after which time, the final phase of your dental implant procedure can take place.
If you would like to find out if dental implants are right for you, please contact our expert cosmetic dentist in Houston today. We’d be delighted to offer our advice and support.