Dental implants. An implant is a screw that goes into your bone and after it heals, you get a crown that screws into that. As of today, an implant is generally the best option to replace a missing tooth. I am currently a dental hygienist, but before dental hygiene, I did work as an assistant for a dentist that placed dental implants. So let me tell you what I know about implants. You technically have four options to replace a missing tooth. These four options that I’m about to list are in order of the least ideal to the most ideal option, which is also the least expensive option to the most expensive option.
Number one, do nothing at all. Leave the gap. Usually, this is not the best option because you will have bone loss in this area over time and the opposing teeth can drop down or start growing up.
Get a partial denture. This does not keep the bone level where it should be and you need to remove this appliance every night when you sleep, but it does cosmetically fill the gap.
Get a bridge. This used to be the best option to replace a missing tooth before implants came along, but now it’s not always the best option because you have to crown both adjacent teeth to the missing tooth. So if something goes wrong in the future with one of those two teeth holding the middle tooth in the bridge, you now lose the whole bridge. All three crowns. Plus if the two adjacent teeth are healthy, you are putting crowns on healthy teeth that otherwise didn’t need to be disturbed with the drilling and the crowning and again with a bridge, you can lose bone in that area where the missing tooth is over time.
Get a dental implant. Like I said before, this is generally the best option to replace a missing tooth because it’s a standalone crown that does not place any strain on other teeth and it doesn’t disturb any surrounding teeth and it keeps the bone level. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I just said an implant is the best option ever, but sometimes there are instances where the bone isn’t wide enough to place an implant. In this case, sometimes you’re eligible for a bone graph where the dentist adds cadaver bone to your bone and sutures it up. However, in select cases, whether it’s due to other situations in your bone health conditions, history of taking by phosphonates, whatever the case, it may be possible that you are someone who’s not eligible for an implant. How to find out if you’re eligible. Always. One, make sure you provide a comprehensive health history for your dentist to review and two, the dentists will always have to take a CT scan on you before placing an implant.
This way they can have a three-dimensional image of your jaw. After consultation with those two things, your health history, and your CT, you will be able to find out if you’re eligible for an implant. If for some reason you’re not eligible for an implant, it’s okay. Your dentist will determine what the best thing to do for you, whether it’s a bridge or a partial or leaving it alone. If you are eligible for an implant, great. It may take several appointments to complete the process of the implant and the implant crown and the whole thing.
However, just remember you are on your way to replacing your missing tooth with the best technology available.
Pro Tip number one: the screw itself is called the implant. The implant is not the crown. The crown is called the implant crown. Just some dental vocabulary for you.
Pro Tip number two: if you have not yet lost your tooth and there is still an option to save it with a root canal, I’m all for trying to save your natural tooth first before you get an extraction and an implant.
How much does dental implants cost?
What are the negative effects of dental implants?
- Infection at the implant site.
- Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels.
- Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin.
- Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities.
How long do dental implants last?
How painful is a dental implant?
How can I get dental implants for free?
How much does full mouth dental implants cost?
Why are tooth implants so expensive?
How can I get insurance to pay for dental implants?
- If a dental insurance policy covers implants, be sure to review the plan’s annual limit as there may be some additional out-of-pocket payment.
- The crown attached to the abutment of a dental implant can be covered under some dental plans.
It’s always best to have your own tooth if you can. However, if the tooth in question is not salvageable and it needs to be removed, then definitely go for an implant if you can. In my opinion, if you need to replace a missing tooth and implant is one of the best investments you can make for yourself. I just always think we use our teeth to talk and to eat and those are two huge priorities of life, right? So having good teeth to talk and to eat. I think it’s something to consider if you liked learning about this dentistry topic versus my normal dental hygiene topics, or if you like both, let me know in the comments below and thank you again for reading.