When was the last time you smiled? I mean really smiled — naturally, unselfconsciously, broadly? If you are missing teeth, it’s totally normal to feel embarrassed or even ashamed about the state of your smile. Maybe you’ve learned to smile with your lips closed and laugh with your hand covering your mouth. You may even try to avoid social situations altogether. That in itself should be good enough reason to fill those gaps in your grin. But tooth replacement is not just a cosmetic issue. It is an oral health issue as well.
And while dentures of various forms have helped people for millennia (back to the ancient Etruscans and perhaps even earlier) — and are still an excellent option for many patients today — the gold standard for restoring missing parts of your smile is the dental implant.
To book a consultation with Dr. LoCascio of Highland Advanced Dental Care and learn more about how dental implants can help you, call our Highland Township, MI office at 248-329-3552.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post — an artificial tooth root, basically — that is surgically implanted into your jawbone underneath the gum. Over time, the dental implant fuses to the bone, becoming a part of your body. Once it is healed, the dental implant provides a stable foundation for a crown or other restoration.
If you can’t keep your natural tooth, a dental implant is the next best option because it feels, looks, and functions like a real tooth.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
- Because dental implants fuse with the bone and become part of you, they are much more comfortable than even today’s well-fitted dentures. Once healed, they feel like a real tooth.
- Hooray! Eat what you want. With dental implants, you can eat whatever you want, when you want it. Cleaning is a breeze, too — just brush and floss as usual.
- Dental implants are far more stable and sturdy than other restoration methods. They won’t slip in your mouth like dentures, and they don’t require messy adhesive to stay in place.
- Dental implants are designed to be permanent, unlike tooth-supported bridges, which last a few years. While dental implants are more expensive up front, they can last a lifetime with proper care, and that makes them more cost-effective.
- Dental implants protect the health of your other teeth. A bridge requires adjoining teeth to be filed down. A dental implant supports itself.
- When you chew with a dental implant, the force goes into the jawbone — just like with real teeth. This helps maintain the health and strength of the bone. With dentures, the biting force goes into the gum. This may cause the jawbone to deteriorate over time.
- When teeth are missing from your mouth, your face may take on a sunken look, making you look far older than you are. Dental implants fill out your face like real teeth.
- With dentures, it can be difficult to learn to speak clearly. Since a dental implant simulates a real tooth, you will be able to speak easily right off the bat.
- If you’ve been self-conscious about your missing teeth, your self-esteem will go through the roof when you get your dental implants. It’s just like getting brand-new teeth. You don’t have to worry about learning to take care of and deal with dentures.
The Dental Implant Process
First, Dr. LoCascio will create an individualized treatment plan based on your particular needs. Next, he will implant the titanium artificial tooth root into the jawbone. Over the next several weeks, the site will heal and the implant will fuse into the bone.
Once the initial operation has healed, an abutment, or connector post, will be attached to the implant. A custom crown will be crafted and attached to the abutment. Voila! Your brand-new tooth is ready.
All-On-4 Dental Implants
At Highland Advanced Dental Care, we offer a special type of implant for patients who require a full arch of replacement teeth, but want all the advantages of dental implants over dentures. Individual dental implants for an arch of teeth would be impractical and prohibitively expensive. But with the All-On-4 technique, we are able to use 4 dental implants to support an entire upper or lower set of teeth. Unlike with regular dental implants, the All-On-4 procedure can be completed in just one day.