As important as they are, we often take our teeth for granted. They help us chew our food so we can digest it.They keep our jaws aligned and keep us from losing bone, and they make our smiles beautiful.
At Masterpiece Smiles, Tulsa, OK, we don’t take your teeth for granted. We do everything in our power to make sure you keep them, from doing deep cleaning to taking care of cavities to gum disease treatment.
But let’s face it, sometimes we still lose our teeth. Whether that’s due to age, tooth decay, or trauma, sometimes it just happens.
When you lose your teeth, you lose a lot of things:
Your Ability to Chew
It goes without saying that with loss of teeth, you won’t be able to enjoy the foods you used to.
Let’s face it, your smile is your calling card to the world. And a beautiful smile makes a great impression.
Your Bone Health
If you don’t replace missing teeth in some way, you’ll experience bone loss. During the first year of bone loss, there is a 25 percent decrease in the width of the bone. In just a few years, you can lose up to 4 millimeters in the height of your bone. All of this can change the shape of your face, making you look much older.
What Are Your Options?
So what do you do when you’ve lost the teeth that you’ve depended on your whole life? In that case, you’ll need to look into full-mouth reconstruction.
Dentures are an option. We can make dentures to look like your natural teeth and set them in a gum-colored base. Some people, however, have problems with dentures slipping, or they can’t eat certain foods, like corn on the cob, so they find they’re just not comfortable with traditional dentures.
That’s where the option of dental implants comes in.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a long-lasting and healthy option for replacing missing teeth. They’re more stable than dentures because they don’t just sit on top of your gums like dentures do. Implants don’t shift around in your mouth. That means you can again have that corn on the cob!
Dental implants are a great choice for many reasons:
- They’re strong. Your implants will function like natural teeth. Also, it doesn’t lead to deterioration of the bone like some other options can.
- They’re worry-free. Dental implants allow you to eat, talk and laugh without the fear of anything slipping. Did we mention that corn on the cob?
- They last a lifetime. If you properly care for them, your implants can last forever.
- They’re a proven technology. You might not realize it, but dental implants have been around for 50 years. They have a great track record and are considered to be more dependable than bridgework.
Here’s how it’s done:
With a dental implant, we start by placing a titanium post in the jawbone. This post mimics a natural tooth’s root and stabilizes the replacement tooth. It has the added bonus of stimulating the bone tissue in your jaw and keeping it strong too. This is what you can expect:
- First, Dr. Cobble will take measurements to plan for the implant surgery as well as to ensure that your replacement teeth will fit perfectly.
- Dr. Cobble will remove your damaged tooth.
- He will prepare your jawbone for surgery.
- He will place the titanium post into your jawbone.
- After letting it heal for a few months, Dr. Cobble will place an abutment, which is an extension of the implant post. He will then place your new artificial tooth or teeth.
While a dental implant is a major procedure, patients say that with the choice of sedation available, it isn’t any worse than getting a tooth pulled. Any discomfort afterwards is manageable.
The Option of Mini Dental Implants
You have to have healthy bone tissue in the spot where the dental implant root is going to go. Sometimes bone tissue won’t be healthy. For example, it might have been awhile since you lost that tooth, which might cause the bone underneath to deteriorate.
In that case, you might be able to get a mini dental implant. These implants still use a replacement tooth like regular implants, but the root itself is a lot thinner. That way, it doesn’t need as much bone tissue.
The Next Steps
If you’ve lost your teeth and want to replace them with something that looks and feels like your natural teeth, the dental implants are the way to go. Set up an appointment with Dr. Cobble and we’ll talk about your options.