Dental implants were introduced to the world in 1965, and since then, they have transformed the field of dentistry. Before the dental implant era, people with missing teeth had only bridges and dentures as tooth-replacement options. And while these traditional restorations are far better than they were in the past (thanks to advancements in materials and manufacturing), dental implants are the closest approximations to real teeth.
Dr. Ellsworth of Family Dental of Spokane Valley is a skilled and experienced implant dentist. Whether you’re missing one tooth, a full arch, or something in between, he has a dental implant option that will work for you. He can even help if you aren’t a good candidate for conventional dental implants due to bone loss.
To book a consultation at Family Dental of Spokane Valley, call our Spokane Valley, WA office at 509-850-3217.
Missing Teeth Damage Your Smile and Your Health
When you have holes in your smile, the consequences go far beyond the obvious gapped grin. There are many compelling reasons to contact Family Dental of Spokane Valley to discuss replacing your missing teeth with dental implants.
- Your self-esteem will improve. Finally, you will be able to smile big without reservation or embarrassment. You will come across as confident and self-assured.
- Teeth support your facial muscles. When one or more are missing, your muscles and skin may sag, giving you an aged, sunken appearance.
- Teeth rely on each other to stay in place. When there is a gap, surrounding teeth may shift and move into the space. This can result in bite and alignment problems.
- When you don’t have all your teeth, it may be difficult to chew food properly and speak clearly.
- Your jawbone integrity relies on stimulation from chewing and biting. When a tooth is missing, the bone may weaken and deteriorate. Because their structure mimics natural teeth, dental implants help prevent bone loss.
Dental Implants Replace the Root on Up
What sets dental implants apart is that they replace the entire tooth structure — not just the crown, or part above the gum line. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium that Dr. Ellsworth will surgically insert into your jawbone. As it heals, the surrounding bone grows around the dental implant, anchoring it firmly and permanently into place.
After the healing process is complete, Dr. Ellsworth will attach an abutment or other connector and a restoration. Dental implants are immovable once placed. They look like real teeth, function like real teeth, and feel like real teeth. You may even forget you have dental implants!
Single Dental Implants
If you have just one or a couple of teeth missing, your best option may be individual dental implants. In this case, your dental implant will likely be topped with a connector called an abutment and a dental crown. Single dental implants have a number of advantages over the alternative, a dental bridge.
- Dental implants maintain jawbone health. When you have a bridge, your biting force stops at the gums, which can lead to bone loss.
- Conventional bridges are supported by the adjacent healthy teeth. These must have enamel removed and crowns placed on top. Dental implants stand on their own and require no alteration of surrounding teeth.
- Dental implants feel and function just like real teeth. They restore your full bite strength and are stable in the mouth.
Dental Implants with Dentures
For people with an arch of missing teeth, individual dental implants are not a practical option. But we can give them all the benefits of dental implants with implant-supported and implant-retained dentures. Both of these techniques use a few carefully placed dental implants to secure a denture. The difference lies in how they are affixed to the implant: implant-supported dentures use a bar-style attachment while implant-retained dentures use a ball-style connector. Dr. Ellsworth will be happy to discuss which option makes sense for you.
Dentures secured with dental implants remain securely in place: no sliding, slipping, or falling out of your mouth. They don’t require the use of messy adhesives. And they restore your full biting force and maintain jawbone health.
Mini Dental Implants
If you’ve experience bone loss due to missing teeth, you may not be a candidate for traditional dental implants. In this case, you may want to consider mini dental implants, which offer many of the same benefits. Because they are smaller, mini dental implants are an option even if your jawbone has deteriorated. They are easier and less invasive to place, less expensive, and can be topped with a restoration immediately. Yet they offer similar stability and function as regular dental implants.