Tooth loss is incredibly common, but it’s not necessarily a minor problem. Whether you’ve lost a tooth to decay, trauma, gum disease, or some other reason, you have options for replacement.
At Los Altos Family Smiles, our highly qualified dentists say that the best way to maintain your oral health when you’ve lost a tooth is by getting a dental implant. We’re happy to discuss all of your tooth replacement options so you understand the benefits of each. Here, we focus on the gold standard: dental implants.
With more than 120 million Americans missing one or more teeth, you can imagine that there are many different reasons for tooth loss. Gum disease and tooth decay are common, as are things like cancer and traumatic injuries, such as auto accidents. Just using your teeth each day wears them down and can lead to tooth loss.
Years ago, the only options for replacing missing teeth were dentures or bridges. Today, dental implants provide a better option.
A dental implant replaces a part of your tooth that dentures and bridges don’t, and that’s your tooth root. A titanium post surgically implanted into your jawbone serves as a foundation for a small connecting device that attaches an artificial tooth to the implanted post, fitting in seamlessly with your natural teeth.
If several teeth are missing, we can implant a post on each end of the gap and use a dental bridge — artificial teeth fabricated together as one unit. The key is that the implanted posts are permanently anchored in place, offering stability you can’t get with other tooth replacement options.
Also, each time you bite or chew, the implanted post stimulates the blood vessels to bring nutrients to your bone just as your natural tooth roots do. This stimulation prevents bone loss.
Missing a tooth or multiple teeth can erode your confidence in how you look. You may find yourself hesitating to smile. With a dental implant, it’s difficult to tell your artificial tooth from the real thing.
In addition to looking great, implants work just like your natural teeth, so you can eat and speak confidently. You can take a big bite of a healthy apple without fear. You don’t have to worry about how you look, sound, or your teeth slipping when you chew as you might with dentures.
The fact that implants also protect your bone health is a noteworthy benefit. If you choose to not replace a missing tooth at all, there’s a risk that your surrounding teeth could shift and move, and you could lose them, too!
Dental implants are durable. As many as 98% of people who get dental implants are happy with the result, and if you take good care of them, they last a lifetime.
When you get a dental implant at Los Altos Family Smiles, we take X-rays to find precisely the best location to place your implant in. We also do tests to make sure your jawbone is strong enough for the implant. If it’s not, you may need a bone graft before the implant.
The next step is getting the titanium post implanted, which we do during a surgical procedure. After that, you need a few months for the site to heal and for the post to fuse to your bone. In the final step, we attach the crown, your artificial tooth, via the abutment.
Our team is happy to answer your questions and provide expert advice about how to best protect your oral health. If you’d like to learn more about dental implants or other tooth replacement options, call our office in Los Altos, California, or use our online tool to schedule an appointment.