Dental implants are prosthetic implants that not only revitalize your smile, but can also improve your overall wellness. There are thousands of patients in the United States who have entrusted their dentist to place a dental implant. While the cosmetic benefits are blatantly easy to see, and the functional results are also obvious, the most important part of a dental implant is often never fully realized. These brilliant crowns atop titanium posts are actually helping improve your overall health.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are an alternative treatment for missing teeth. In the past a bridge would have been fixed to the adjacent teeth to fill this gap. While bridges filled the void left by a missing tooth and allowed a patient to eat and smile without thinking twice, they did nothing to stop the bone loss occurring below. Dental implants are made up of two pieces. The first is a titanium rod that acts as an artificial root of the tooth. This is placed where the original tooth was. Depending on how long the tooth has been missing a bone graft may be necessary to facilitate the bone regeneration that will enable this rod to remain in place. If a bone graft is not needed, the bone of the jaw will generate around the base of the dental implant and secure it to the jaw permanently. This portion of the procedure takes between four and six months to heal completely and properly. During this time your Jacksonville, Florida dentist will create a crown to replace the lost tooth. This crown will match the shade and shape of the previous tooth as to provide the most functional restoration possible. Once the titanium portion of the implant has successfully fused to the jaw bone, this crown will be placed on top and secured. Dental implants have a high success rate and if taken care of properly can last a lifetime. Because they are not teeth they are impervious to decay, however the tissues surrounding the implant can still become inflamed. Peri-implantitis is a serious condition that can severely affect the success of your dental implant and dental health.
How Can Dental Implants Promote Dental Wellness?
As a wellness dentist in Jacksonville, Florida Dr. Shields sees first hand how healthy teeth can promote total well being and vice versa. When a tooth is lost the integrity of the jaw is diminished. After only one year following the loss of a tooth the width of the jaw bone is decreased by 25%, and each following year one millimeter of bone is follows suit. As the bone begins to diminish, the rest of the teeth are at risk of falling out due to decreased density of bone. Further basal bone, or the bone that lies beneath the porous alveolar bone that holds the teeth in place, will also begin to disintegrate if nothing as done. This causes the jaw to shrink back into the face altering the profile and making eating and speaking much more difficult.
By halting this slow degeneration of jaw bone with dental implants dental wellness can be fully restored. The bone that grows around the titanium implant ensures that no bone loss will occur and that the patient will not have to worry about needing a root canal, refitting bridges, losing any more teeth, or any other dental procedure. In keeping the integrity of the bone, the patient will also be able to continue to eat nutritious foods and communicate clearly, unencumbered by larger prosthetics like dentures. Unsurprisingly, after undergoing a dental implant procedure we note that patients take much better care of their teeth. While dental implants are very predictable and common procedures they do take time to recover from. Many who undergo the procedure do not wish to repeat the process without cause. Dental work that restores a smile to its former brilliance and functionality is often admired and cause for an updated dental routine that ensures ongoing dental wellness and care.
If you have lost a tooth or feel as though your dental wellness could benefit from the placement of a dental implant, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation today. Dr. Shields will be able to discern if a dental implant can improve your life and oral wellness, or if another procedure would be more beneficial.