Marietta dentist, Dr. Kirk Kimmerling asks, are you missing a tooth somewhere in your mouth, and think no one can tell? That gap between your teeth may be more apparent than you think, especially when you speak and laugh. For those of you who think one missing tooth is not that big of a concern, it should be. Once a tooth is missing, the downhill slide begins. If the tooth isn’t replaced, the surrounding teeth begin to fill in the missing space, and bone loss can occur where the missing tooth once was. If that isn’t enough, plaque and tartar can begin to develop making it difficult to brush between shifted teeth. For some, a speech problem arises. Tooth loss and shifting teeth can create an environment difficult to speak. Think it’s all bad news? Well, it’s not! There is an implant procedure performed by dentists that can give you back your tooth. A dental implant could be just the procedure to fill your gap, keep your teeth straight and put you where you use to be.
A tiny tube-like cylinder is placed in your jawbone, replacing the root of the tooth you once had. The implant is usually made of titanium or other metals that the body does not reject, allowing it to osseointegrate, adhere to the bone. This process can take up to three to six months. Once the period passes, then the implant can be restored and the prosthesis, a tooth is attached. The new tooth is customized, made to fit only you according to your surrounding teeth and tissue.
Before you can decide if an implant is right for you, you must be evaluated by a dentist. He will look at many factors such as your overall health. Illnesses, such as diabetes, leukemia, osteoporosis and sinus problems may make it more difficult for the bone to grown around the implant impeding success. Certain medications taken by patients also can give the patient a poorer prognosis for healing. Of course, smoking is usually considered a red-flag for an implant. It is well documented that smokers are at higher risk for gum disease. This creates a more difficult environment for an implant to succeed. If you pass by these three criteria, your dentist will take x-rays to help determine if an implant is right for you.
If you have been considering replacing a missing tooth, then perhaps it is time to set up a consultation with a dentist. He will give you a personal evaluation, and find out if your insurance covers any of the procedures. If you are not a candidate, your dentist will tell you alternative treatments. Implants require meticulous home care and regular hygiene visits to the dentist.
If you have decided an implant is right for you and have been given a green light by a dentist, it is an excellent way to replace a natural tooth. The dental implant can make you feel like you never lost it.