Have you been avoiding looking in the mirror because of your missing teeth? Do you cringe when you see that well-meaning friend pointing their camera phone at you? It’s not unusual to feel anxious or concerned about missing teeth. People have gaps in their smile for a wide range of reasons. What does need to be considered is what you can do about it. Leaving gums exposed can lead to further dental issues such as not being able to chew food properly, or other healthy teeth moving. Thankfully, there is a solution that is a natural looking and reliable treatment for giving you a bite that can be relied upon, whatever you eat and drink.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants involve titanium screws being attached to the jawbone. They act as artificial roots for replacement teeth. They can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or a whole set, and crowns, bridges or dentures can be attached to them. The clever thing about titanium is that this metal bonds with the bone, providing stability and endurance – just like a real tooth’s root! Having teeth firmly fixed means that they should be comfortable and easy to maintain, just like natural teeth. You will be able to brush and floss regularly and you won’t need to worry about them loosening when you’re talking to friends over lunch!
What else do I need to know?
If you are interested in getting implants, you will first need to have a consultation to check your eligibility for treatment. People who have had missing teeth can sometimes have gum disease that may then need to be treated before getting implants fitted. Your dentist will also need to check that you have enough bone to attach the screws to. If you don’t have enough bone density, then you should be able to have a bone graft or a sinus lift to help solve this issue. If this isn’t an option, you can get longer screws (zygomatic implants) which can be attached to the cheekbone.
Once you know that you are eligible for treatment and any necessary work has been done to prepare the jawbone, you can have implants fitted with local anaesthetic. If you are nervous, there is also the option for additional sedation. Implants are fitted simply by your dentist making a hole in the jawbone into which screws are fitted.
If this sounds a little scary, you may be pleased to know it is actually a minor procedure for dentists to perform. The procedure can be likened to having a filling and should be less painful than that because there are less nerve endings involved. Either way, with local anaesthetic, you will hardly feel a thing and there is the option for further sedation for those who are nervous, where you will remain conscious, but you will be much more relaxed!
If you want to have a winning smile that functions like your natural teeth, implants offer a great solution. The only thing you should have left to worry about is whether or not you have time to keep looking in the mirror at your new grin!