When you are missing a permanent tooth, a dentist may recommend an implant. Typically implants cannot be done until growth has completed. It is important to consult with a dental professional to see if getting an implant is the right solution for your specific situation.
Getting an implant for a missing tooth is important for several reasons:
1. Restoring Function: A missing tooth can affect your ability to chew and speak properly. If you get an implant, you can regain the full function of your mouth. This will allow eating food properly and speaking clearly.
2. Maintaining Oral Health: When a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth may shift or tilt into the empty space, leading to misalignment and bite problems. The jawbone in the missing tooth area may start to deteriorate over time. Implants help prevent issues by providing stability and support to the surrounding teeth and jawbone.
3. Preserving Facial Structure: Teeth play an important role in maintaining the structure of your face. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone in that area can shrink, causing the face to appear sunken and aged. Implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss. This will also keep the natural contours of the face.
4. Aesthetics: Missing teeth can impact your smile and overall appearance. Implants are designed to look and feel like natural teeth. Implants can help boost self-confidence and improve overall quality of life.
5. Longevity: Implants are a durable, long-lasting solution for missing teeth. With proper care and maintenance, they can last a lifetime. They're very pricey, but can be best option in the long run compared to other tooth replacement options.
The implant procedure typically involves several steps and may vary depending on individual circumstances. Here is a general overview of the implant procedure:
1. Initial Consultation: The first step is to consult with a dental professional who will evaluate your oral health, take X-rays, and discuss treatment options. They will determine if you are a suitable candidate for dental implants.
2. Treatment Planning: If you are eligible for implants, a comprehensive treatment plan will be created. This plan will consider factors such as the number of missing teeth, the condition of the jawbone, and any additional procedures that may be required; such as bone grafting or other tooth extractions.
3. Implant Placement: The next step is the surgical placement of the implant. This involves making an incision in the gum tissue to expose the jawbone and drilling a small hole to insert the implant screw. The implant is then positioned in the jawbone, and the gum tissue is stitched back into place.
4. Bone Growth: After the implant is placed, a process called osseointegration occurs. This happens when the implant fuses with the surrounding jawbone- creating a strong and stable foundation. This typically takes several months to complete.
5. Abutment Placement: Once the bone growth is successful, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant. The abutment serves as a support for the final restoration.
6. Final Restoration: After the gums have healed and the abutment is in place, a custom-made dental crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the abutment. The restoration is designed to match the color, shape, and size of your natural teeth, providing a natural-looking and functional replacement.
7. Follow-up Care: Regular, follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor the healing process and ensure the implant is functioning properly. Good oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups are essential to maintain the health and longevity of the implant.
It is important to note that the implant procedure may require multiple visits and can take months to complete.