Is That Tooth a “Goner?”
Teeth can be “goners’ for any number of reasons: decay, accident, or gum disease. No matter what the reason, losing a permanent tooth can be annoying, embarrassing, and awkward.
A missing tooth can change the way you chew, the types of foods you’re comfortable eating, and how your upper teeth align with your lower teeth – your bite.
That’s because the contact surfaces between your teeth work to hold each of them in position. When a tooth is missing, the remaining teeth can begin to drift. That can cause your bite to be misaligned as well as creating gaps between the teeth.
Missing teeth can also lead you to smile less.
Dentistry invented the dental bridge to deal with the problem of missing teeth. Bridges generally work well, but many people people experience discomfort, often caused by food particles getting wedged underneath the bridgework. Decay in the anchoring teeth can also cause the bridge to fail.
For people missing many teeth, partial or full dentures have been the go-to solution for many years. Dentures have their own issues, though; they can move around in the mouth or even pop out of the mouth unexpectedly. That’s hugely embarrassing to experience and even to witness, sometimes. Gums can become irritated. And, dentures can have the same issue with food particles that bridgework can have.
The state-of-the-art solution for missing teeth are dental implants. Dental implants are a proven approach to tooth replacement and are very durable.
A single implant is basically a crown that’s attached to a tiny screw anchored in the jaw. Those screws are made of titanium or some other “biocompatible”material that won’t cause any problems in the body.
Two or more Implants can be placed side-by side or more widely to anchor bridgework. And for people without teeth, or those wearing removable dentures, as few as four anchor posts in the jaw can permanently hold a complete set of upper or lower dental work. With implants, “whole-mouth restoration” is within the reach of many people who might have given up hope.
And, unlike dentures, implants won’t pop out of your mouth.
As you’d expect, placing the anchor screws requires a bit of surgery. Once an anchor is in place, there’s a certain length of time required for the bone to grow around it. After that, the crown is firmly attached to the screw.
Full-size, single-anchor implants won’t work for everyone. Once a tooth is gone, the bone underneath tends to thin because it’s no longer receiving pressure from chewing. That pressure is part of what stimulates the bone to keep it healthy.
For people without enough bone to anchor a traditional implant, mini-implants can be the solution. Each mini-implant replaces one of the roots of a tooth, distributing the pressure. Mini-implants, including attaching the replacement tooth or teeth, can often be completed in one appointment.
In extreme cases, extra bone can be grafted onto the weak areas to reinforce them. The grafted bone has to “take” before any surgery, so the time required to receive your new teeth is extended.
The rule of thumb in almost all cases is that missing teeth, plus time, equals bone loss. If you’ve lost one or more teeth, the sooner you act to fill that space, the better. The pluses to not letting missing teeth stay missing are many: less embarrassment when smiling, chewing without pain or discomfort, maintaining the correct alignment of your teeth, and minimizing any loss of bone.
If you’re bothered by one or more missing teeth, All Smiles has a solution that will work for you. Your personalized solution starts with a comprehensive assessment of the state of your mouth, including imaging, to make certain that you receive the ideal treatment for you.
One or more of your teeth may be “goners,” but they don’t have to stay gone. Drs. Folden and Westbrook stay abreast of the latest developments in implant technology and procedures to offer the best possible outcomes for our patients.
For over thirty years, we’ve been been committed to giving you back your best smile, to making sure you can eat the foods you love without pain or discomfort, and to enhancing the quality of your life.
Make An Appointment
In addition to general dentistry and cosmetic procedures, All Smiles in Jacksonville, TX provides expert assessment and dental implant services. Don’t let time steal away the bone you’ll need to have your best smile. Call our office at 903-374-4406.