Health & Wellness

Replacing A Missing Tooth? Things To Know About Dental Implants

Alexandria, VA – Are you missing a tooth or maybe a few teeth? And you are a bit hesitant to smile because of that? Dental implant can be solution for you. Dr. Heejo Han from Kenmore Family Dental Care will give a brief overview of dental implants for single tooth replacement and also touch on alternative options.

Dental implants are medical devices surgically implanted into the jaw to restore a person’s ability to chew or their appearance. With dental implants, you can chew, bite properly again, allow you to eat your favorite food, smile with confidence, and boost your self-esteem. Dental implant systems consist of three parts: dental implant body (which is surgically inserted in the jawbone in place of the tooth’s root), dental implant abutment and an implant crown (the artificial tooth) (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Structure of the dental implant system
Figure 2. Dental bridge

For single tooth replacement, dental implants have many advantages. First of all, dental implants closely mimic the appearance and function of natural teeth. They blend seamlessly with your existing teeth, and you won’t notice a difference in how they look or feel. Secondly, with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them one of the most durable tooth replacement options available. Thirdly, unlike traditional bridges (figure 2), dental implants don’t require altering or compromising adjacent healthy teeth for support. This helps maintain your overall oral health. Fourthly, dental implants restore full chewing function and improve speech, allowing you to eat your favorite foods and communicate clearly without worry. Fifthly, implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss that can occur when a tooth is missing. This helps maintain facial structure and overall oral health. In addition to advantages in maintaining oral health, caring for a dental implant is simple. You can brush and floss it just like a natural tooth, without any special maintenance requirements. Furthermore, dental implant procedures have a high success rate, making them a reliable and predictable treatment option.

However, there are also some drawbacks of dental implants worth mentioning. The first drawback, which is also the concern for many patients, is the cost. Dental implants are generally more expensive than other treatment options. Due to the high cost, many dental insurances do not cover them. At Kenmore Family Dental Care, we understand that dental implants can be expensive. We work with several third-party financial partners to provide flexible payment options. With the flexible payment options, patients have the opportunity to get the necessary treatment first, and then pay later. Another drawback of dental implants is that they require dental surgery and healing period (3-6 months). The whole implantation process will likely take multiple dental appointments (consultation, implant placement surgery, and placement of the final restorations, and etc). To receive a dental implant, the patients need to be in good enough health to undergo dental surgery. In addition, the patients may first require a dental bone graft prior to the dental implantation, to ensure the jaw can support the posts for many years to come. Research shows that the bone loss can be as much as 25% of the jawbone’s density within the first year of losing a tooth. Thus, it’s not uncommon to need bone grafting before replacing the missing teeth. At Kenmore Family Dental Care, Dr. Han will carefully review the X-ray or CT scan of your mouth, and determine if the bone graft is indeed necessary.

It is important to point out that dental implant is not the only choice to deal with missing teeth, and it may not be suitable for all the patients. There are also alternative options for replacing a single missing tooth, such as dental bridge and partial denture.

A dental bridge (figure 2) involves placing crowns on the adjacent teeth and anchoring a false tooth (pontic) in between. While bridges are a viable option, they often require the removal of healthy tooth structure from the adjacent teeth (creating abutments). A removable partial denture can be another option. However, they may feel less stable and natural compared to dental implants. It’s worth to mention that some patients choose not to replace a single missing tooth. But this can lead to various oral health issues over time, including shifting of nearby teeth and bone loss.

It’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences when deciding on the best treatment option. Dental implants offer numerous advantages, but at Kenmore Family Dental Care, Dr. Han can discuss your specific case in more detail to determine the most suitable solution. The goal is to make sure the patients feel confident in the dental procedure, ensuring that patients are well-informed and can make an informed decision about their treatment both dentally and financially. If you have any more questions regarding replacing a missing tooth, please reach out to Kenmore Family Dental Care at (571) 222-5072 or [email protected] to learn more how to get started on your dental implant journey.

ICYMI: Alexandria Health Department Offers Support Program for Residents With Asthma and COPD

Related Articles

One Comment

  1. Thanks for also talking about how dental implants can also help improve one’s speech. I’m interested in looking for a good dentist soon because I might need to get one of my teeth pulled out soon. It almost got knocked off of my mouth due to a slipping accident and it’s almost halfway detached from my gums

Back to top button