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An Introduction to Dental Implants, Pt. 1

When you’re a kid, losing your teeth is a good thing! It’s a sign that you’re growing, and it also usually means a visit from the tooth fairy. When you’re grown, losing your teeth is painful and traumatic, both physically and psychologically. Whether the result of an injury, disease, or even a genetic abnormality (some people have baby teeth that are never replaced by adult teeth), missing one or more of your teeth will have dramatic negative impact on your quality of life.

Missing teeth can impede your ability to chew and speak and cause the shape of your face to change (giving it a sad, caved-in look). Missing teeth can cause remaining natural teeth to move out of their correct positions, causing further problems with the alignment of your jaw. All of this on top of the embarrassment of having an unattractive smile that is full of gaps!

Anderson Dental Care in Cincinnati, OH can give you back your smile, your health, and your life with dental implants. When it comes to missing teeth, dental implants are your best option because they are permanent (meaning they stay firmly in place and don’t move around like other solutions for missing teeth), don’t require significant lifestyle changes, and they are virtually indistinguishable in appearance from your natural teeth.

Anatomy of a Dental Implant

  • A dental implant replaces a missing tooth, and is installed directly into the jawbone (you won’t feel it when it’s in).
  • A dental implant is made up of three parts: the anchor, the abutment, and the crown.

The Anchor: The anchor is a post and is usually made of titanium. It is also threaded like a screw or bolt. Titanium is used for two main reasons: one, it is a very strong metal, and two, it is biocompatible. Something that is biocompatible won’t activate your immune system; in other words, your body doesn’t mind that its there.The anchor holds the replacement tooth (crown) firmly in place and is embedded in your jawbone. An implant is “good to go” once it is installed, but over the course of several months, the bone and the teeth implant will actually fuse together, undergoing a process called osseointegration and making the implant almost more like a natural part of your body, rather than a foreign object: it will take a great deal of force for the implant to come loose or move; it is more or less impossible for this to happen.

Installing an anchor is a surgical procedure; to get your tooth implants, we’ll refer you to an oral surgeon to get this done.

The Abutment: The abutment is the connector piece, between the anchor and the crown. Once the anchor is in place, the abutment is either screwed in, or a powerful dental adhesive is used. The abutment is responsible for holding the crown.

The Crown: The crown is the part of the teeth implant that is visible: basically, it’s an artificial tooth. Crowns can be made from lots of different materials, but the most common is porcelain, which is very durable and looks exactly like your natural teeth. Nobody but you will know you have an implant.

After the oral surgeon places the anchor in your jaw, your dentist at Anderson Dental Care will place the crown, which is custom made for you.

Can I Get Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the best way to replace missing teeth, but not everyone can get them. If you’re interested in getting dental implants, your dentist will thoroughly evaluate your oral health to see if your mouth is in good enough shape to have the implants installed successfully and that the risk of implant failure is minimal (implants have a 95% success rate when they are installed correctly and the patient is in good enough health).

Consider the following characteristics of someone who is a good candidate for dental implants:

Someone who is in good oral health

Good oral health in this case comes down to two main requirements:

  • You must be free of oral disease, and
  • Your jawbone must have enough bone density to support the implant.  

Although missing teeth can be caused by injury, and even genetics in a few cases, the vast majority of adult teeth are lost due to oral disease: usually gum disease, which is the number one cause of lost teeth in the US. If you have a gum disease, or any other kind of oral disease, that will need to be addressed first.

Your jaw’s bone density is very important when it comes to implants. The implant is embedded in the bone, and there needs to be enough of it to hold it in place. If you don’t have sufficient bone density in your jaw, your dentist may recommend a procedure called a bone graft: a small amount of bone from elsewhere in the body is transferred to another. In this case, your jaw.

You must be old enough to receive implants

Getting dental implants is an adults-only procedure. Children and adolescents are not able to get dental implants because their jaws and teeth are still developing and growing. If someone did give a younger patient a dental implant, it would not take very long for the implant to fail.

You must be able to tolerate anesthesia

Dental implants require oral surgery, and that means anesthesia. Most people tolerate anesthesia well, but some don’t. It isn’t just a matter of being able to “go under”; the inability to tolerate anesthesia puts you at risk of severe and even-life threatening effects on your health. If you know you have difficulty with dental anesthesia, tell your dentist.

You must be in good general health

Good general health here means that you are free of serious diseases, which can cause complications for dental implants. If you suffer from arthritis, high blood pressure, an autoimmune disorder, or diabetes, getting dental implants is not impossible, but your dentist and oral surgeon will want to have a comprehensive understanding of your medical history to make the best recommendation with your health and overall wellbeing as the top priority.

What if I have missing teeth, but it turns out I can’t get dental implants?

If you can’t get dental implants, you can still replace missing teeth with more conventional methods, such as a bridge or dentures, both of which we offer at Anderson Dental Care.

Are Missing Teeth Causing You to Miss Out on Life?

You don’t have to live with the embarrassment, pain, and discomfort caused by missing teeth. Dental implants will give you back your smile and your good health!

Remember, the problems created by missing teeth never get better on their own; they only get worse! Don’t delay your treatment: there is such a thing as too late when it comes to your dental health!

Call us today! You can reach our friendly staff by telephone at (513) 231-7755, or you can use our online appointment form to book your visit right now!

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