- March 18, 2017
There’s a good reason why a natural, healthy smile is full of teeth: By keeping your teeth so close together, they support each other and help reduce food from getting stuck along the gumline and teeth. That’s why missing a tooth is a big deal. If you have a gap in your smile left behind by a tooth that either fell out or had to be extracted, you not only look weird, but you are also at a higher risk for gum disease.
There are several methods of replacing the lost tooth, but a dental implant is one of the strongest, most durable options. Yet some people think they can’t get a dental implant. While that’s typically true for children and teens, almost all adults can get them — even if we have to help out your jaw a little bit.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant uses three parts. First is a small titanium post that acts like an artificial root. This is implanted in your jaw, and over time, it fuses with the surrounding bone tissue to give it the same strength and stability as any healthy tooth’s root. (That’s what makes these teeth implants so strong.) Then an abutment is attached to the post, followed by a replacement tooth securely placed on the abutment. The replacement tooth is made to order, so it will look exactly like one of your healthy teeth. With a dental implant in place, your smile will look great again. And by filling that space, you reduce your risk of gum disease.
What Are They Used For?
Believe it or not, dental implants are more than just a cosmetic fix. Sure, they fill in that ugly gap in your smile so people won’t wonder what horrific accident happened or snicker that you must play a lot of hockey. Your jawbone is supposed to have roots from teeth in it. When those roots go missing, the bone tissue there will start to deteriorate. By using the artificial root that comes with a dental implant, you give the bone tissue something to hold onto and a new tooth to stimulate the jawbone, helping to stop that deterioration.
What Would Stop Them From Being Placed?
Because dental implants are surgically placed in your jawbone, children and teens should not get one. Their jaws are still growing, and the dental implant is permanent. If Dr. Ardelean was to attempt a dental implant procedure in a kid’s jawbone, it could move around as the child continues to grow.
If you are an adult, then the key to successfully placing dental implants is the health and thickness of your jawbone. The artificial root that is surgically implanted to hold the abutment and replacement tooth needs a certain amount of healthy bone tissue around it. Without such tissue, the implant won’t fuse strongly and can be at risk of coming loose or even out. Worse, an injury or accident to the implant could break your jawbone. Dr. Ardelean cannot place a dental implant without the jawbone underneath the gap being strong and thick enough.
And for some people, their sinuses actually get in the way. Your sinuses are membranes that drop down almost to your jawbone. If your sinuses are just naturally low, they can get in the way of placing the implanted roots.
How Bone Grafts Can Help
But you can still get a dental implant! Dr. Ardelean is a Doctor of Dental Surgery, so he can use three oral surgery procedures at our Sterling Heights, MI office to help your jawbone get healthy enough for dental implants.
Bone grafting is very useful for helping repair jawbones that have deteriorated from missing a root for too long. Over time, such a jawbone can develop holes or pockets in it as it essentially dissolves away. In a bone graft, Dr. Ardelean will take healthy bone material and surgically place it in those holes. After given time to heal, your jawbone will fuse with the grafted material and become healthy again, ready to take that implanted artificial root.
- The part of the jawbone where teeth are rooted is called the ridge. When this area gets weak, the sockets where roots go in can break. Dr. Ardelean can do a surgical procedure called ridge augmentation to correct this. Similar to a bone graft, this adds bone material to the ridge so it can hold tightly onto the dental implant.
- If your sinuses are naturally low and might interfere with the implanted root, Dr. Ardelean can actually move the sinuses with a sinus lift. In this procedure, Dr. Ardelean creates a small hole in your upper jawbone so he can gently lift the sinus membrane away from your jaw. Then he grafts bone tissue to the spot to help keep the sinus in its new, upper position. This also gives the site enough healthy bone tissue to safely take a dental implant.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. And with bone grafts, ridge augmentations, and sinus lifts, we can help almost any adult patient have the healthy jawbone necessary to take dental implants. If you have any questions about dental implants, or if you are ready to make your next appointment, call us today at 586-739-1111.