Despite our best efforts to take care of our smile, tooth loss is an unfortunate reality for many patients. Decay and damage accrued during our lifetime means that around half of people can expect to lose a permanent tooth by the time they reach 35 years old. There are currently more than 120 million Americans missing at least one tooth, and this number is expected to rise over the next decade.
In the past, patients had fairly limited options when it came to replacing missing teeth with an artificial alternative. A bridge was the go-to solution for single teeth, while patients with many gaps in their smile could have a partial or full denture. Fortunately, tooth replacement solutions have continued to evolve and today, patients can benefit from a variety of very successful and natural prosthetics that can restore the function and appearance of their smile. Many of these solutions are forms of dental implants.
There are various types of dental implants available, all of which use a unique technique to place them. Previous restorations were all secured either to natural, healthy teeth or in the case of dentures, directly onto the gums. However, this places unnecessary stress on existing teeth would cause them to become compromised, and the adhesive used to secure dentures is mediocre at best, enabling them to slip and move around.
The implant technique is a revolutionary new way of securing prosthetic teeth. It uses a titanium post, which acts as an artificial root for the restoration. This post is placed into the jawbone in a pre-determined location where it protrudes out a little through the gum tissue. After it has been placed, which is done through drilling a hole into the jaw via the gums, the bone then heals around the post, anchoring it permanently into the mouth. This process, called osseointegration, is the cornerstone of the success of the technique. Osseointegration takes several months, but once the post is secure, your chosen restoration can be attached to it (and you will be given a temporary crown/bridge/denture in the meantime!).
The most well-known variety of dental implant, they are used to replace individual missing teeth or teeth that are located in different areas of the mouth. They comprise of a single titanium post and an artificial tooth that is created specifically to replace the one that you are missing. The bespoke design means that it is the right shape, size, and color to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile, ensuring that your restoration is completely discreet.
A bridge contains what looks like a number of artificial teeth. However, it is one, bespoke device that can be secured onto several implant posts rather than onto neighboring teeth. This gives the restoration added strength and security and means that there is no unnecessary strain placed onto your healthy teeth.
If you are missing many or all of your teeth in either your upper or lower arch, you may be recommended to consider implant-supported dentures. These take the conventional denture design and combine it with the implant technique to offer unrivaled stability and security for your restoration. A partial denture can be attached to just two or three implants, whilst a full arch can be placed onto anywhere between four and eight implant posts. This will be discussed with you at your consultation appointment.
We wouldn’t blame you if you decided that you didn’t want to wait to receive your custom-designed restoration. Fortunately, it is possible to receive both your implant posts and your bespoke artificial teeth in just one day using the All-on-4 system. CAD/CAM technology is used to design and build your entire arch of missing teeth whilst you are having four titanium implants placed strategically into your mouth. These are angled in such a way that they can bear the load of your new replacement teeth immediately and you can leave with your new, permanent smile intact the very same day.
From improved stability, greater discretion and longer durability, there are lots of advantages to choosing dental implants for a tooth restoration. One distinct benefit of placing implants is that the process encourages the body to build new bone, reinforcing the shape and strength of the jaw. This is invaluable as many patients who suffer from tooth loss find that the bone in their jaw starts to deteriorate, causing their face to lose some of its natural structure.
If you are missing one or more teeth and are interested in finding out more about dental implants, or if you would like to book a consultation with our discreet and experienced team, please get in touch with our dental offices in Marietta, GA today.