Of all the ways modern dentistry has to replace missing teeth, dental implants are by far the best. There is no tooth-replacement option that will give you a longer-lasting result. Implants also help preserve tooth-supporting bone that naturally deteriorates when a tooth is lost. Loss of bone is one of the major hidden consequences of losing teeth.
Here at Petra I. Mayer, DDS, we offer dental implants as a permanent, natural looking solution for tooth replacement. If you are interested in dental implants, call our periodontist office in Albuquerque, NM at (505) 881-2400 to schedule a consultation with our implant dentist! Or read on to learn more about how implants work and their many benefits.
Dental Implant Procedure
A dental implant is a small, screw-shaped titanium post that replaces the root-part of a missing tooth. During a minor surgical procedure, the implant is embedded directly into the jawbone in the space vacated by the missing tooth. The procedure typically only requires local anesthesia. It will then be left to heal for a period of months so the implant can fuse with your jaw bone as it heals.
After this healing period, the implant is topped off with a custom-made dental crown that matches the shade of your existing natural teeth. This natural look helps the implant blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth so noone will be able to tell it's not a real tooth. Implants have a documented success rate of over 95%, which is significantly higher than any other tooth-replacement option.
Tooth Replacement Options Using Dental Implants
Implants can replace missing teeth in a variety of ways. They can be used to replace one or more teeth.
Replace One Tooth
Replace Multiple Teeth
When you have more than one tooth missing, implants provide an ideal replacement mechanism. You don't even need one implant for every missing tooth. Instead, implant teeth can act as supports for fixed bridgework. For example, if you are missing three teeth in a row, we can place two implants, one on either side of the gap, and a crown in between that has no implant underneath. That way, you won't need to use any of your remaining natural teeth as bridge supports, which could weaken them and make them more susceptible to decay.
Replace All Teeth Permanently
Dental Implant Care and Maintenance
There are only two ways an implant can lose attachment to the bone and fail once it has successfully fused: poor oral hygiene or excessive biting forces. Poor oral hygiene and/or a lack of regular cleanings can lead to a destructive bacterial infection called peri-implantitis. Flossing and brushing your teeth on a daily basis, along with regular professional cleanings, can prevent this.
Excessive biting forces can come from either a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, or an insufficient number of implants to handle the forces generated by your bite. You should receive the correct number of implants so this does not happen. And if you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, a nightguard will be recommended to protect your implants. After all, implants are a long-term investment in your smile, your health and your well-being, so it's best to protect your investment.