Anytime you lose a tooth, you jeopardize your oral health. It alters your bite, affects tooth wear, and causes bone loss in your jaw. Options are available to replace teeth, from bridges and crowns if you have one or two teeth missing, to full dentures if you’ve lost all your teeth. The new gold standard, though, is the dental implant, as it ticks all the boxes of what a tooth replacement should do.
At Silver Lake Dentistry, in Raymore, Missouri Dr. Joshua Whitford and his team use state-of-the-art technology, including dental implants, to replace missing or damaged teeth for patients of all ages, restoring their natural smile. As many people don’t yet know just how beneficial dental implants can be and when they might be necessary, the team put together this guide to share that information with you.
Missing teeth affect your oral and systemic health
Your mouth is happiest and healthiest when all its parts work together. It’s no great surprise, then, that when you’re missing teeth, it negatively impacts your oral health. Research indicates, too, that your risk for dental problems — and even overall health problems — increase with each additional missing tooth. Missing teeth:
- Cause shift in tooth alignment: can lead to bite problems and difficulty with speech
- Change how and what you eat: front teeth needed for biting, molars for grinding tougher foods
- Impact digestion: failing to chew properly causes problems like acid reflux
- Fail to stimulate jaw bone: without new tissue from bite pressure, nearby teeth loosen and can fall out
When are dental implants necessary?
Even though dentures, artificial teeth attached to an acrylic base, are an easy and relatively inexpensive choice to replace missing teeth, they fail in a major way — they replace only the crowns of the teeth, not the roots anchored in the jawbone. On the other hand, dental implants replace the whole tooth structure, from the crown on top to the root at the bottom. That’s important since the roots hold your teeth in place.
In addition, dentures and bridges don’t provide the bite-created pressure needed to retain jaw mass, but dental implants look and function like your natural teeth, meaning they’re anchored in your jaw, providing the necessary bite pressure while also serving as a solid anchor on which to place a dental crown.
The bottom line? Dental implants are necessary to help maintain your oral and overall health.
What is involved in getting dental implants?
The team at Silver Lake Dentistry uses state-of-the-art technology to help accurately place your dental implant.
Getting your implants requires several sessions., Dr. Whitford implants a small, biocompatible, titanium or zirconia post into the socket of the missing tooth. It can take about six to eight months for the bone tissue to grow around the post and anchor it. The dentist fits you with a temporary crown to fill in the gap while the area heals.
Dr. Whitford also uses platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) at the time of the implant to accelerate the healing process. He draws a small amount of blood from your arm, then places it in a centrifuge to isolate the platelets from the other blood cells. Platelets are what allow the blood to clot, and they contain growth factors to heal damaged tissues. Finally, he places a mesh of the platelets directly over the wound, where they go to work.
Once the jaw has healed and the post is firmly anchored, you come back into the office for the next step. Dr. Whitford attaches an abutment — a small connector — to the metal root. Next, she makes a dental mold, so the lab can create a custom-fitted crown. At the final appointment, she secures the new crown atop the abutment, and you’re good to go.
No one will be able to tell you have an implant, because all “parts” of the tooth are present, and it looks and functions the way a natural tooth does. And as long as you keep brushing, flossing, and coming in for regular checkups, the implants should last you a lifetime.
If you’re missing a tooth, a dental implant may be the ideal way to fix your smile and boost your oral health. Give Silverlake Dentistry a call at 816-368-5968 to set up a consultation with Dr. Whitford, or book online with us today.