Tooth loss is a very common issue in the U.S., and it becomes more likely as you get older. At least 120 million Americans are missing one tooth, over 36 million have no teeth at all, and older people are at a ratio of two to one of missing all teeth, known as being edentulous. The process of total tooth loss is over a lifetime, and you gradually lose more of them for a wide variety of reasons.
There are many ways to replace teeth, using dentures, bridges, and partials, but dental implants are an overall better choice for long-term use and stability. Let’s explore the advantages of this method by looking at the common causes of missing teeth, how implants manage the problem, and what the process of getting one is like.
If you live in the Cypress, Texas, area and you want a long term solution for missing teeth, Drs. KimCuc Vo, Sandra Raouf, and the skilled medical team at Dentist at Rock Creek can help.
Frequent causes of tooth loss are:
Certain diseases increase the risk of tooth loss, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis.Regardless of the cause, the result for many is a loss of ability to chew food, an altered bite, bone deterioration and loss, a weakened jaw, and an increased risk of other dental problems.
Unlike other methods of tooth replacement which attach to gums or other teeth, implants are placed in the gums and attached in a three-part process. First, the initial implant is drilled into the jaw bone to sit in the same position as a missing tooth. Next, an abutment, which is a connector piece that allows the final part to be attached, is placed on the implant, and finally the crown is placed on top.
This process allows the implant to fuse with the bone and results in increased stability and something that behaves like your natural teeth. Implants are designed to last for decades if taken care of properly. They can be used to replace single or multiple teeth.
Depending on how many teeth you need to have replaced or how strong the bone in your jaw is, the process can start with bone grafting after any damaged teeth are removed. If your jaw lacks the amount of bone necessary for an implant, natural grafts can be done using bone from other parts of your body, or synthetic grafts made from various materials can be used to strengthen the jaw.
But whether you need a graft or not, the next stage is the placing of the implant. The gum is cut open to expose the bone and a hole is drilled in where the implant will be placed. Once the implant is in place, you wait for the jaw to heal in a process known as osseointegration. Once it is healed, minor surgery will need to be done to place the abutment by cutting into the gum to reach the implant. Once it is placed, the crown can be placed, which can be removable or fixed. The whole process can take several months, but the results can last you for years to come.
Implants are the best option to restore function of your teeth, making chewing, biting, and many other basic functions easier without fear of dental appliances falling out. If you have missing teeth and are considering implants, make an appointment with Drs. Vo, Raouf, and Dentist at Rock Creek today to get information and treatment.