Dental Implants Springfield & Longmeadow, MA Dental Implants Springfield
There are various reasons a person may be missing a tooth: decay, trauma, gum disease, or congenital anomalies. And if you’re missing a tooth, you’re in good company — the American Dental Association estimates that 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. At Taylor Street Dental, we believe the best replacement option for a missing tooth is a dental implant. Implants can replace a missing tooth, or can be used to anchor appliances such as bridges or dentures when more than a couple of teeth are missing.
What is a dental implant?
The implant is named for the titanium implant that replaces the natural tooth root. This implant is secured into the opening formerly occupied by the tooth root. The jawbone then grows around and accepts the implant, making it a part of the jaw. We then attach a post to the implant and an artificial tooth (a crown) to the post. Your new artificial tooth feels and functions just like a natural tooth because it is rooted into the jawbone, just like a natural tooth.
First, why should I bother to replace a missing tooth?
Most people plan on replacing a tooth, whether it had to be extracted or was avulsed from some sort of trauma. But as time goes by inertia builds and they no longer want to commit the time or money to replace the tooth. That’s a bad idea for a number of reasons:
- First, your teeth stay in place thanks to the pressure placed upon them by the teeth on each side. When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth tend to slide over into the gap, now that the pressure to stay put is gone. This can create havoc with your bite and the overall alignment of your teeth.
- Second, natural teeth help keep the jawbone beneath them healthy. This happens because when you bite and chew, there is a tremendous amount of energy exerted. That energy travels down the tooth into the jawbone beneath it, and this energy triggers the jawbone to create new bone cells. This process keeps the jawbone healthy and continually regenerating. When a tooth or teeth are missing, the jawbone under the gaps begins to erode and lose bone mass. That’s why people missing many or all of their teeth can have a sunken appearance to their face.
- Third, with gaps in your teeth, chewing certain foods such as fruits and nuts can be difficult, so you avoid them. This can create gaps in your diet to go with the gaps in your teeth.
Would I be a good candidate for a dental implant?
To place a dental implant the patient has to have sufficient jawbone mass. If you’ve been missing a tooth or a few teeth, you may have lost some of that jawbone mass. In that case we would have to build up your jawbone with bone grafts prior to starting the implant procedure. Otherwise, just about anyone is a great candidate for implants.
How are dental implants placed?
Once your jawbone is deemed healthy enough to receive the implant, the process involves four steps:
- Placement — The first step is to make a very tiny incision in your gums and screw the titanium implant down into the socket of your natural tooth root.
- Osseointegration — Next, the jawbone needs to grow around and accept the implant. This is called osseointegration and usually takes from three to six months.
- Healing Abutment — Once osseointegration is complete, the next step is to place a healing abutment into the implant. Once placed we let the gums heal around it for around four to six weeks.
- Crown — The final step is to attach your artificial tooth, called a crown, to the abutment post. The abutment and crown is custom made to match the color of your adjacent teeth and to match the shape of the natural tooth that was in that position.
Will my implant look and feel natural?
Dental implants feel and function just like natural teeth. They don’t require any special cleaning methods or care. You can eat whatever you like with them, and no one can tell your implant from the tooth next to it. Plus, as with a natural tooth, the implant transfers energy down into your jawbone, keeping it healthy.
What if I’m missing a number of teeth?
While implants can be used to replace any number of teeth, it may prove too costly to replace every missing tooth with an implant. In these cases, we use strategically placed implants to serve as anchors for permanent bridges or for full or partial dentures. Implant-supported dentures are stronger than traditional dentures, and they usually do not get loose.
How long will a dental implant last?
Dental implants can last the rest of the patient’s life. Your dental hygiene will play a role in the longevity, but as long as you brush and floss daily and see the team at Taylor Street Dental for cleanings and exams your implant should last for decades. Of course if you do not take care of your implant or crown the longevity of this dental procedure will be affected.
Before & After Dental Implant Photo
Video on Dental Implant Options
“I have found the dental care that, Dr. Peck and his staff, provide to be exemplary. From the moment you enter the office, the staff exude friendliness. Everyone is pleasant and do their best to contribute to a relaxing evening at the dentist. Thank you!!!!”
Susan Garrow-Sloan Wilbraham, MA
To learn more about dental implants, or tooth implants, please contact cosmetic/general dentist Dr. Peck today.