If you need to replace one or more missing teeth, dental implants offer a permanent solution. Implants require periodontal surgery, which is an area of specialty at Missoula Dental in Missoula, Montana. To learn more about how implants work and whether this approach is right for you, book a consultation online or over the phone today.
Why replace missing teeth?
Many people only think about the cosmetic effects of missing teeth. While a gap in your smile can certainly alter your appearance, there are also serious dental health issues involved when one or more of your natural teeth are missing.
Each of your teeth is anchored directly into your jawbone. When you chew or bite down, you stimulate that underlying bone, keeping it healthy and strong.
Losing a tooth means losing the stimulation in that section of your jaw. Over time, the bone tissue can wear away — a process known as resorption.
That weakens the connection between your remaining teeth and your jaw and can lead to additional tooth loss. Missing teeth can also affect the way you chew or speak and can allow adjacent teeth to shift out of position.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a permanent treatment to replace missing teeth. They consist of an artificial tooth root, an artificial tooth, and a connecting piece called an abutment.
You can get one dental implant to replace a single missing tooth or choose a system like All-on-4Ⓡ that replaces an entire upper or lower span of teeth using just four implanted posts. You’ll learn more about your options during your face-to-face consultation.
What are the steps in getting a dental implant?
The planning phase is the first step and arguably the most important part of any dental implant procedure. Advanced imaging allows your dentist to assess your teeth and bone tissue to determine if implants are the right fit for your needs.
On the day of your procedure, your dentist numbs the area to ensure you remain comfortable from start to finish. An incision is made in your gum tissue to gain access to the underlying bone.
A small pilot hole is drilled into the bone tissue to guide the post placement. The post is then positioned into the bone before your gums are closed and a period of healing begins. A temporary crown can be attached and worn until the next step in the process.
Over the next few months, your bone tissue fuses to the implanted post, creating a secure connection that can last a lifetime. Once that process is complete, you’ll return to have the abutment placed (this step can sometimes be performed at the same time the post is installed).
The last step is attaching the crown, which is the visible portion of the dental implant. Once completed, your new implant will look and function just like your natural teeth without the risk of decay.
To learn more about dental implants, book a time to come in and meet with the Missoula Dental team. Online booking is available, or you are always welcome to call to check appointment availability.