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Are Dental Implants an Option for you?

Are you missing a tooth or perhaps several teeth? Did you think that a denture or a bridge was your only option to replace the missing teeth? Dental implants are also a viable option for people who are missing teeth and in good general health.

A missing tooth may cause you to feel self-conscious, but there are also health concerns too. If a missing tooth is not replaced, the surrounding teeth can shift. Harmful plaque and tartar can collect in new hard-to-reach places creating tooth decay and periodontal disease. Bone loss can occur in the region of the missing tooth. Missing teeth can affect the biting force of the remaining teeth. As the bite changes to compensate for the lost tooth, there is a risk of extra pressure and discomfort on the jaw joints, which may lead to temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Missing teeth can also affect your speech.

An implant is basically a type of screw that is placed into the jaw surgically to function as a sturdy anchor for the replacement teeth. The screw is made of titanium so it is compatible with the body. The implant process can take several months. First, the implant is surgically placed into the jaw and a screw is inserted into the implant to prevent gum tissue and other debris from entering. The gum is then secured over the implant, where it will remain covered for approximately three to six months while the implant fuses with the bone (osseointegration). It is likely that there will be swelling and tenderness. Next, after three to six months the implant is uncovered and the dentist attaches an extension (post) to the implant. The gum tissue is allowed to heal around the post. Some implants require a second surgery in which a post is attached to connect the replacement teeth. With other implants, the implant and post are one unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery. Once healed, the implant and post can serve as the foundation for the new tooth. Finally, the dentist makes a custom artifical tooth (crown) to fit and blend with your other teeth. Once completed the crown is attached to the implant post.

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Regular dental visits afterwards are crucial to the life and long-term success of the implant. Dr. McCargar at Scottsdale Dental Arts says, “Disease or trauma can cause tooth loss, but there are options for restoring your smile.” Dr. McCargar stresses that because implants require surgery not all patients are good candidates for implants, but he recommends that if you are interested in discussing your options to contact their Scottsdale dental office.