By Drs. David, Clayton and Jay McCarl
Dental implants are today’s standard of care for replacing missing teeth and securing removable dentures. In the past few years, improvements in dental implant technology have made implants more reliable, comfortable and affordable. There are circumstances in which a dental implant has replaced root canal therapy as the preferred dental treatment. When the root of a tooth is too short or too badly damaged to support restoration with a dental crown, it may be best to extract the tooth and place a dental implant. The implant will provide greater support for the restored tooth and improved long-term success.
Dental implants are placed in the jaw where they fuse to the bone. They are effective for restoration of a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. In the past, dentists relied on procedures that were often temporary measures to repair badly damaged teeth. Now, there are many circumstances when implants restored with crowns will last longer and cost less than ongoing repair efforts.
When you lose a tooth, your jawbone gradually loses strength and firmness. This leads to bone loss and can even cause changes in facial features. The loss of just one tooth can cause uneven chewing and an unstable bite. The remaining teeth shift and proper cleaning becomes more difficult. A misaligned bite can also contribute jaw joint dysfunction and headaches. Unlike a denture or bridge, a dental implant can prevent bone loss at the site of the missing tooth.
Many patients tell us that having a dental implant is more comfortable than they expected. Unlike teeth, the jaw bone does not have nerves. The type and density of bone varies from patient to patient and even within different locations in the same patient’s jaw. Bone density will determine whether the dental implant can be restored immediately, or whether the implant needs to “sleep” and strengthen for several months before use. Allowing an implant to “sleep” and fuse to the jaw bone significantly adds to its strength.
There are advantages to having a properly trained general dentist to place your implant. A general dentist will be restoring the implant and can determine the type and size implant that is most suitable, as well as the optimal position for later restoration. When the implant is placed and restored by the same dentist, there are fewer visits to the dentist which results in lower cost and greater convenience for the dental patient. Many patients are pleasantly surprised that the cost of dental implants is much lower than they expected. If you are missing teeth, visit a properly trained dentist to learn how dental implants can improve the health of your smile.
The Drs. McCarl can be reached at 410 987-8800 or www.McCarlDental.com