Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
A dental implant can be used to replace a single missing tooth or be used in conjunction with removable dentures. However, even if your teeth have been missing for years, it still may be possible you could be a candidate for dental implants although additional procedures may be needed in order to ensure your jawbone is healthy enough for a dental implant. Although dentures or partial dentures, known as partials, may be suitable for some patients, for others they may be an aggravation or embarrassing to deal with. If you have recently lost a tooth, it’s important to replace it with a dental implant as soon as possible. The reason is because once a tooth is removed, the bone begins to diminish, leaving less bone for an implant to be placed. Missing teeth, especially in the back molar areas, can cause lack of support to the bite and cause compression and damage to the jaw joints (TMJ joints). It can cause issues in your mouth including loss of chewing efficiency, gum shrinkage, bone loss, the appearance of a sunken face whereas teeth are no longer providing support to your cheeks, painful chewing, and may cause your other teeth to shift.
Dental implants are designed to function and look like your natural teeth. A dental implant is a convenient way to restore your smile after teeth have been removed. The implant is made of a biocompatible titanium post that permanently fits into the jawbone like the roots of your teeth once did. A small portion of the post remains slightly above the gum, then an abutment is attached to the top of the implant where a permanent dental crown is later placed. The abutment functions like a conjoining piece between the dental implant and the permanent dental crown.
Another aspect of a dental implant is that they don’t have to disturb the surrounding teeth like a dental bridge, providing a less invasive method of replacing missing teeth. After completion of the procedure, your dental implant and crown will look, feel, and function like a natural tooth! Plus, a dental implant will last you the rest of your life.
Dental implants are sometimes used in conjunction with dentures. Traditional dentures fit directly over the soft tissue of the mouth and are easily removable. However, some patients lack confidence in their smile by wearing dentures that aren’t comfortable. At our office we also offer the option of dental implants to be used in combination with dentures. This procedure is most often used for patients who have had all their natural teeth removed. Several dental implants are placed into the jawbone, leaving a small portion of the post above the gum, which is enough for the dentures to attach. Using dental implants in conjunction with dentures provides a more secure fit of the dentures. This option provides patients with a more confident smile when wearing their dentures. For any patient seeking an implant, it’s important you have enough healthy jawbone and gum tissue to sustain an implant. Through a consultation, Dr. Cook can determine if you are an ideal candidate for a dental implant.