If you have missing teeth, you may want to replace them in order to change the look of your smile. Dental implants* can be one way to do this, but the benefits aren’t limited to how your smile looks. Keep reading to find out how replacing missing teeth can offer additional benefits.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a surgical screw that integrates into the bone of the patient. A range of options can then be attached to this screw depending on what it is the patient is looking to have replaced. Most commonly, a crown is fitted to replace a
single tooth. However, bridges and dentures can also be attached.
The fitting of a dental implant is a typically a two-stage procedure. The first stage involves a surgical set-up requiring a sterile environment where the implant is screwed into the bone. While some dentists will refer this stage to an oral surgeon outside their clinic, our dentists are qualified to complete this at our clinic.
After this, the implant usually needs time to integrate with the bone and heal. This can take approximately six months, although individual circumstances will vary. It’s important to allow time for this process and to make sure the implant is not rejected.
The second stage of the implant is performed once the healing process is completed. At this time, it’s typically the case that the tooth, bridge or denture can be attached to the implant.
Who are dental implants for?
Dental implants are a viable option for a broad range of people and are most commonly used as a fixed solution for missing teeth.
However, like many dental treatments, not everyone is a suitable candidate. As the screw must integrate into the patient’s bone, their bone structure must be of the right density to support this.
There are other factors, such as age, lifestyle or medical circumstances, that may indicate that dental implants aren’t the right solution for you; it’s important to seek a qualified dental professional who can assess suitability. Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have or arrange a consultation.
Why is it often preferable to replace a missing tooth?
Sometimes when people lose a tooth, they simply think: ‘It’s gone now; I’ll just learn to live with it.’ However, when a tooth goes missing, the surrounding teeth sometimes have a tendency to shift and move around the jaw to compensate or reduce that gap.
When we pull out a tooth or you lose a tooth, it can be a little like pulling out a book on a bookshelf. The books around the missing book have a tendency to collapse into the space to fill it up. In a similar fashion, when we remove a tooth, the teeth may move to try to minimise that space. We also find that a tooth above or below the missing tooth may grow down or up.
Consequently, losing one tooth can have a domino effect on the rest of our teeth. They can start moving around. When they drift or tilt out of their original position, they might start adding stress to other teeth, the jaw joints, and/or associated muscles. This can sometimes result in symptoms like headaches or pain.
Lastly, depending on the teeth that are missing, the gaps may affect your ability to speak or chew food. This can potentially affect other aspects of your general health or well-being.
Dental implants are definitely not just about appearance. There are reasons related to your oral health and general health that can make tooth replacement a worthwhile treatment.
Missing teeth? Curious to know if dental implants are right for you? Click here to learn about our $150 Dental Implant Consultation package.
*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.