Losing a tooth as a child can be exciting-not so much as an adult. Just one missing tooth can harm your oral and general health, as well as your self-esteem and confidence. Tooth loss increases the risk of periodontal disease and decay in remaining teeth, additional tooth loss, malnutrition, and feelings of embarrassment. So, replacement is a necessity. A single tooth dental implant is a secure replacement that restores your smile and helps to ensure your overall health and well being.
Most patients that want a dental implant can have one. However, there are some basic ground rules. First, your general health must be good. Minor oral surgery is required for implants, so we'll need to know a few things about your medical history. Then, Dr. Rigdon will perform a thorough dental exam, including a close look at your teeth and gums.
What makes a dental implant better than a partial or fixed bridge? Other replacements only rest on top of your gum ridge and substitute for a tooth's crown. A dental implant, on the other hand, replaces the entire missing tooth from root to crown. In this way, an implant is the most lifelike tooth replacement and will remain firmly in place.
Also, because an implant is surgically positioned in your jawbone, it helps maintain your facial structure. When you are missing a tooth, there is no root to stimulate new bone tissue growth. Thus, your jaw can begin to shrink, making you look drawn and more aged. This can even happen with a prosthetic that merely rests on top of your gums.
Dental implant surgery is performed in stages. First, if you have a damaged tooth, it will require extraction. Then, your jawbone is prepped for surgery, which may include bone grafting if you've lost bone volume at the site. After your jaw heals, the dental implant post is set in the bone. The post and surrounding bone tissue will integrate, which can take several months. Finally, abutments are placed to connect the implant and restoration. Once the porcelain crown is attached, your new tooth is complete. Care for your dental implant with daily brushing and flossing and regular checkups.