Part 3 of a 3-Part Series
Nearly 180 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Furthermore, 40 million Americans are missing even more than one. As we age, the problem worsens. In fact, 30 percent of adults between the ages of 65-74 years have no natural teeth. Thankfully, in 2022, options abound. Two weeks ago, we began a three-week series examining three solutions to missing teeth. On week one, we covered dentures. The second blog focused on dental bridges. This week, we tackle the final solution to missing teeth – implants.
Implants for All Teeth
If you are missing teeth, an implant-supported full bridge or full denture can replace them. Dental implants replace both lost natural teeth and some of the roots.
Advantages of implant-supported full bridges and implant-supported dentures over conventional dentures
Dental implants provide several advantages over other teeth replacement options. They not only look and function like natural teeth, but implant-supported full bridges or dentures last a long time. Implant-supported full bridges and dentures also are more comfortable and stable than conventional dentures, allowing you to retain a more natural biting and chewing capacity.
In addition, because implant-supported full bridges and dentures replace some of your tooth roots, your bone is better preserved. With conventional dentures, the bone that previously surrounded the tooth roots begins to resorb (deteriorate). Dental implants integrate with your jawbone, helping to keep the bone healthy and intact.
In the long term, implants can be more attractive and easier to maintain than conventional dentures. The loss of bone that accompanies conventional dentures leads to recession of the jawbone and a collapsed, unattractive smile. Conventional dentures make it difficult to eat certain foods.
First, implants, which looks like screws, are placed into your jaw. Then, over the next two to six months, the implants and the bone are allowed to bond together to form anchors for your artificial teeth. During this time, a temporary teeth replacement option can be worn over the implant sites.
Occasionally, a second step of the procedure is necessary to uncover the implants and attach extensions. These small metal posts, called abutments, along with various connecting devices that allow multiple crowns to attach to the implants, complete the foundation on which your new teeth will be placed. Your gums will be allowed to heal for a couple of weeks following this procedure.
Some implant systems (one-stage) do not require a second step. These systems use an implant which already has the extension piece attached. Your periodontist will advise you on which system is best for you.
Depending upon the number of implants placed, the connecting device that will hold your new teeth can be tightened down on the implant. Or it may be a clipped to a bar or a ball anchor, which snaps on and off. Finally, full bridges or full dentures will be created for you and attached to your implants or the connecting device. Eventually, you will experience restored confidence in your smile and your ability to chew and speak.
As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. To keep your implant clean and plaque-free, continue to brush and floss as usual. Dr. Wong will work closely with you and your dentist to develop the best care plan for you. Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth, and gums to make sure they are healthy.
We hope you have enjoyed this series about how bridges, dentures and implants. If you are missing teeth, give us a call. We’ll help determine the best course of action to restore your smile!
About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora
Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.