Losing a tooth by accident or by extraction is not the end of the matter. When a tooth is missing, the resulting gap will allow nearby teeth to tilt or drift from their normal position, and the teeth above the gap will move downward.
Aside from the obvious cosmetic problem, the changed positions of these teeth can lead to severe bite problems causing jaw pain and headaches.
Missing teeth should be replaced to keep other teeth in their normal position. This can be done by Dr. Kneib with a fixed bridge or a dental implant. Both of these treatments offer a good functional and cosmetic result.
A dental implant is a titanium metal replacement for a root of a tooth that is surgically implanted in the jawbone.
As the body heals for approximately two to six months after the surgery, the bone around the implant fuses to the implant through a process called osseointegration.
After the healing phase is complete, the implants are used to anchor crowns, bridges, or dentures.
At Kneib Dentistry we begin with a thorough evaluation of the patient's medical and dental history, and a full clinical examination of the entire mouth and missing tooth area. The clinical exam should also include specific X-rays.
After assessing the patient, a comprehensive treatment plan can be devised. From that point, implants are surgically placed in the jawbone under local anesthesia.
The length of the healing time is based on the quality and quantity of bone, as well as the type of implant placed. After adequate healing is allowed to occur, the implant can be used to support a crown, bridge, or denture.
This is a question that should be determined during the treatment plan. A good rule-of-thumb is to place one implant for each tooth replaced.
Other decisive factors for the number of implants needed for success is the quality and quantity of the patient's bone. Equally as important are the existing anatomy of the bone and the financial resources of the patient. (At Kneib Dentistry we try not to let money get in the way of good dentistry.)
Placing enough implants to restore teeth is vitally important to the long-term success of the restoration. Simply stated, the most costly mistake is to have an implant fail because not enough implants are placed to support the teeth. If the number of implants is limited due to financial constraints of the patient, then the implant treatment should be avoided or the type of restoration must be altered.
"Well, you know Doc, it's just a back tooth. No one will see it so I'll just get rid of it. It's not going to make a difference." Unfortunately, we hear this type of comment at Kneib Dentistry more often than you would think.
The plain truth is that it will make a difference. The loss of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an entire mouth. Teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by missing teeth. Just like two gears of a car that are not properly aligned, pretty soon you've got a whole lot of problems.
One of the options we often discuss at Kneib Dentistry would be a dental implant. This is the replacement of a tooth with a false root that is surgically placed. Dr. Kneib then carefully constructs a dental crown to replace the missing tooth, to prevent teeth from shifting and thereby causing further tooth loss.
When getting dental implants, you should select a dentist or dental team with in-depth knowledge and prior experience with all aspects of the treatment. At Kneib Dentistry we have this expertise.
It is also important to know that implant treatment consists of two components: a surgical phase and a restorative phase.
Traditionally, a dental surgeon, like an oral surgeon or a periodontist, performs the surgical component. A general dentist, or prosthodontist and laboratory technician performs the restorative component. However, as implant dentistry has become more sophisticated, sometimes a dentist who specializes in restorative dentistry conducts the entire procedure.
The technology has been around for decades. In fact, some patients in the Erie area have had dental implants for more than 40 years.
Hundreds of thousands of dental implants have been inserted with more than a 90% success rate. All other metal implants in the body (including hips and knees) are the result of the dental implant technology.
Yes, several types are available. The American Dental Association considers both the endosteal and the subperiosteal implants to be acceptable.
An important factor for selection is to determine whether your jawbone can adequately support the implant. Most dental implants placed today are endosteal root form fixtures (similar to a man-made tooth root).
In the case of a single missing tooth, a dental implant can be placed in the jawbone area of the missing tooth. The implant will serve as a replacement for a tooth root and an individual crown. The total apparatus is referred to as a single-tooth implant crown.
Once in place, the implant crown will look, feel, and function like a natural tooth. They are cleaned and flossed just like natural teeth, and best of all, they do not require any special tools to clean around them like bridges. Although dental implants will not decay, they require impeccable oral hygiene.