Why you replace a missing tooth

By Dr. Gordan Markic

I was once asked an usual question. It was; “how many ways can I lose my teeth?” I thought about this for a moment, and then compiled some sure fire options. Listed below are some proven ways that really work. You could start by limiting or eliminating your regular visits to the dentist.

Poor hygiene can lead to infections, and infections can mean immediate extractions. Gum problems like excessive rescission, also play a big part in helping the teeth go ‘mobile’. When half (or more) of the tooth is uncovered, it needs to be removed. Bone loss doesn’t help either, and lack of bone area means loose and eventually lost teeth as well.

Serious physical trauma to the teeth from sports play or accidents will also cause gaps in a smile. Clenching and grinding will cause wear, and eventually pain and tooth loss. When teeth crack vertically, they also must be removed. Large cavities lead to major problems, and, creative ideas to help save the affected tooth. Tobacco use does not cause decay or teeth to loosen, but, chewing tobacco can cause mouth cancer.

There is a big downside to not replacing missing teeth. When teeth go missing, adjacent and opposing teeth move in to fill the gap. They move until they touch something. Now, the mouth starts changing. If enough teeth are lost, the height of the jaw changes. This is how you get skinfolds in the lip area. When teeth are lost, overall chewing surface is reduced so food contact with teeth is reduced.

Missing teeth mean that the chewing ability is compromised, and the food is not ground down well. Soon, even digestion is affected. A person’s nutrition suffers as a result. Implants are basically the best way to replace a missing tooth. It’s still the most effective elective.
When an implant is placed in the patient’s jaw, the health of the other teeth are not sacrificed or impacted. To make a typical dental appliance, you generally need to affect adjacent teeth (e.g. restorative work like bridges use adjacent teeth as anchors). Unlike insurance covered bridge work, the implant may be subject to supplemental insurance fees, but the results are generally worth the investment.

Sometimes it may be easier to select a bridge solution. For an implant to work, the tooth needs to be missing, and there needs to be enough bone to hold it. If not, a specialist needs to be brought into the picture to add some bone structure for the implant.
The implant has an outer surface that is specially treated so the bone grows into the titanium and fuses with the material. It’s made of 100 percent titanium. The inner surface has an internal post that is used to screw the implant into. The crown is then attached on top of this post. The implant is placed in the client’s jaw four to six months before the crown is placed on top of it.

Effective implant treatment has a 97% success rate. In the Markic office, we have patients that have had their implants for more than 25 years, and they are still performing. Implants are a surgical procedure, but an extraction is actually more invasive and complicated. Mother Nature makes the best teeth, but an implant is still the best runner up. They’re more money than other alternatives but, if you look at the length of time, versus money spent, the investment is quite low.

There are four areas that need to be addressed before a procedure can be called complete. First; the implant needs to be purchased. Second; the surgeon places it into the bone material. Third; the lab makes the implant, and Fourth; the dentist performs the implant procedure. Almost everyone is a good candidate for this process, but heavy smokers and uncontrollable diabetes can affect problems with the healing process. Both individual teeth, a small number of teeth, and the entire upper and lower rows can be replaced with implants. It depends on the final results wanted.

You won’t get a cavity in an implant, but you still need to have good oral hygiene habits and keep up your regular dental visits. Your new implanted teeth do not move like normal teeth so they are better integrated into the jaw than a regular tooth. Unlike a typical short filling visit, there is an extended timeline to implant insertion, as there are other parties involved. It may take 6 to 9 months to have an implant procedure completed. The good news is, the cost is spread out over this timeline as well.

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