Dental implants for missing teeth

smiling-dentist-explaining-tooth-implantation

Written by Dr Amrita Jain

July 30, 2021

Lost teeth due to cavities? Do you find it difficult to chew your food with missing teeth? or are you simply just used to it? Seeing those missing spaces between your teeth might not bother you but they eventually will cost you. Its never too late to fill in those gaps unless the gaps are closed by the tilting of the teeth next to the missing tooth space.

The most permanent and effective way to replace a missing tooth is by getting an implant fixed. Replacing your missing tooth with implants is a fixed option and will give you the strength you need to chew your food, as well as the beauty that natural teeth add to your smile.

What’s coming if you don’t replace your missing tooth?

  • Pressure on the other teeth
  • Pressure on gums and bone
  • Bone density and height reduction in the area of the missing tooth
  • Missing teeth cause the teeth besides the space to lean into the space
  • Alter your chewing and biting pattern
  • Spacing between your front teeth
  • Habitual chewing from one side
  • Change your facial appearance and you may look older than your age
  • Teeth that support your lips- missing front teeth can cause your lips to shrink inwards and appear more thin
  • Teeth that support your cheeks – can shrink inwards giving a wrinkled appearance to your face
  • Loss of speech function, leading to problems in communication.
  • You may start lisping if you have more than 3-4 missing front teeth

So what do I do if I have a missing tooth?

A dental visit is highly recommended. Or you can simply video consult your dentist. Your dentist will check the root cause, and suggest  various treatment options for replacing your missing teeth. The various ways in which a  missing tooth can be replaced are fixing a dental bridge, fabricating a removable partial denture  and the latest treatment modality available is dental implants. 

 If given an option, and you are made to choose if you want to go for a bridge or an implant, one must definitely choose to go for an implant. There are many reasons as to which implants are a better option than bridges.

Implant Installation Stages infographic illustrator

Behind the scenes of placing an implant

Prior to placing implants a pre-operative analysis of the area is necessary  along with the records of any underlying medical conditions. The dentist studies the case thoroughly about the area, infections if any, bone height and density, condition of the bone and gums via X-rays and CBCT scans. The dentist will then study which type of implant to use and the exact procedure of placement. There is nothing to worry as the entire procedure takes about 30-45 minutes.

How can dental implants help me fix my missing tooth?

Dental Implants are the most natural way in which a missing tooth can be replaced! The root  portion of the tooth is replaced by a new root form called as an Implant. This implant is made up  of titanium metal, it is inserted in to the bone below the gum line and gets integrated inside the  bone. The implant gets fused to the bone after a healing period of 3 to 6 months, after that, a new  cap/crown is fitted onto the implant. Bingo! Your new tooth is ready to serve you! It exactly  looks like your natural teeth, serves the chewing function and saves you from the embarrassment of showing a blank space while smiling! 

Dental Implants require great home care and maintenance for a long term success. An implant in the knee joint or hip is not open to the infection as it’s placed inside body. But a dental implant in mouth is subjected to constant presence of food debris and plaque, ideal for growth of bacteria. Hence maintaining a good oral hygiene is a must to ensure a successful treatment.

Everything comes with its share of merits and demerits. A dental implant is no exception in  this regard. A point noteworthy to mention here is, while there a couple of limitations of  implants, the advantages of replacing a missing tooth with implants far outweigh the  disadvantages.

The merits of placing a dental implant are-
It functions and resembles to the  natural tooth as much as possible, the chewing efficacy is much superior, because the implant  has a unique ability of fusing with bone, the soft tissues and gums around the implant crown heal  in a natural manner, and hence the esthetics is as close to a natural tooth.

dental-implant-illustration

Can everyone with a missing tooth get an implant?

Implants cannot be placed in places where the bone density and height is less. Hence dentists always recommend to get a replacement for your missing tooth immediately rather than delaying the process as the more you wait, more is the bone loss eventually. Moreover, dentists do not prefer to place implants in medically compromised patients suffering from uncontrolled  diabetes, patients with mental disorders, people suffering from heart ailments and cardiac  insufficiency, patients with severe renal and liver dysfunctions. Chronic smokers and severe  alcoholics are also not good candidates for dental implants. 

Why are implants so hyped?

Dental implants are the most viable options for better  esthetics, speech and function. Broadly speaking, implants look, feel and function in a similar  manner as natural teeth, however, the important difference is in the way they attach to the  surrounding tissues, response to dental disease and their upkeep. So, at the end, all is well with implants. The success and life span and the response to the treatment is also better with implants.  

Highlights

  • Implants are a better option to replace your missing tooth when compared to bridges.
  • Not all can get an implant done. Your dentist can decide better. However given an option implant is always better and gives better results.
  • Before placing an implant several investigations and scans are done for the success of the treatment.
  • Implants are better in esthetics and give a more natural look as compared to bridges and dentures.
  • Implants require less care and maintenance.

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Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.
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