Ignore your teeth and they will go away — literally! Here’s how to fix missing teeth.
Missing teeth are no fun. Holes in your smile hurt your confidence. They’re bad for your health, too…really bad.
Just imagine a world where you can’t eat your favorite foods, your gums are diseased and painful, and you’re constantly dealing with tooth decay. This world is a reality for those who leave missing teeth untreated.
It doesn’t have to be though.
At Union Dental Center, we help patients all the time who are suffering from missing teeth. There’s no judgment here, just an experienced team excited to help fix smiles. At our office, we’re proud to offer the latest, high-tech treatment for fixing missing teeth: dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the closest thing you can get to a brand new, healthy and natural tooth.
A dental implant has 3 main parts:
- An implant is placed into the jaw bone. This acts as the “root” of your new tooth. Not only does this implant prevent further bone loss, it actually strengthens the bone.
- An abutment is attached to the implant. This makes a solid and stable foundation for the final prosthetic restoration.
- A prosthetic is attached to the abutment. This is most commonly a crown, but we can also place a bridge or an implant-supported denture. This restoration is custom-made and designed to look and function just like your natural tooth.
How missing teeth affect your health
Dental implants are the one true replacement for missing teeth. However, even though studies estimate that as many as 178 million Americans are missing at least one permanent tooth, only about 500,000 implants are placed each year!
This is a huge problem. In the case of missing teeth, failing to fix the situation can lead to costly consequences for your dental health and overall wellness.
Just look at what can happen when you lose a tooth:
- The jaw bone beneath your missing tooth begins to dissolve. This irreversible process known as resorption and can give your face a sunken look.
- Neighboring teeth may begin to shift and reposition.
- It may become difficult to perform proper brushing and flossing, increasing your risk of decay and gum disease.
- You may have trouble eating and speaking normally and comfortably.
If left untreated, these symptoms will only become more severe. In fact, long-term tooth loss is associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
The benefits of dental implants for missing teeth
In the past, people with missing teeth faced the reality of never having a completely whole, healthy, and beautiful smile again. Removable dentures were the most common solution, but even those weren’t ideal — passing them off as natural teeth was nearly impossible.
Dental science and technology has since grown by leaps and bounds. Today, dental implants look and function just like natural teeth. Plus, they’re really durable. These restorations aren’t going anywhere!
Implants can be easily brushed and flossed, and they allow you to continue eating all your favorite foods. Plus, they prevent bone loss and the sunken facial appearance common among those with missing teeth.
Let’s take a look at a full list of benefits (there are many!)
- Made from biocompatible titanium material
- Incredibly durable and permanent
- Looks just like your natural teeth
- Strengthen your jawbone
- Restores your ability to chew and speak
- Promotes healthy gums
Dental implants are truly amazing.
What to expect from dental implants treatment
Getting a dental implant is a common and relatively straightforward treatment. The process does take a bit of time to complete, but thanks to modern technology, the treatment can be done with minimal to no discomfort.
The procedure will follow this process:
- Digital imaging is performed to plan and guide the surgical placement of the implant.
- You’ll be placed under a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any discomfort.
- The implant is placed by a general dentist or a surgical specialist. A temporary tooth will be placed over the implant.
- You’ll wait 3-6 months for healthy bone to grow around the implant and provide necessary support.
The final step in the process is placing the abutment and a custom-made restoration. This might be a crown, a bridge, or implant-supported dentures.
How much do dental implants cost?
There are numerous factors dictating the cost of your treatment:
- Number of implants needed
- Current health of your gums, jaw, and neighboring teeth
- How long your tooth has been missing
- The type of restoration (crown, bridge, etc.)
Your dentist will outline the cost ahead of time to be sure you have no surprises later on. As you consider the cost of the dental implant, there are a few things to remember:
- Dental implants are designed to be long lasting, so over time, the cost of replacing the missing tooth is less.
- Many dental insurance plans provide benefits for this procedure. For those plans that do not include coverage for implants, they often cover diagnostic costs.
- A reputable dentist office will offer payment plan options.
- The cost of not replacing your missing tooth will only grow larger over time.
At our Havre de Grace dentist office, we take missing teeth seriously. The effects of missing teeth is so serious that we encourage all our patients to make their dental implant treatment a priority. We accept most major insurances and offer an in-house savings and payment plan to help fit your budget.
Bonus: What to do if you’ve just knocked out a tooth
Oh no, did you just lose a tooth? It’s okay, accidents happen. Whether you cracked or broke a tooth or lost it completely, the important thing now is what you do next. If you act quickly, your dentist may be able to reimplant your tooth.
Here’s what to do:
- Try to find the tooth.
- Avoid picking it up by the tooth root. Touch the crown of the tooth only.
- Place the tooth in a clean container. Cover the tooth in the container with milk or saliva.
- Call your emergency dentist or visit the ER immediately. They can help you get your tooth reimplanted quickly — it needs to be done within 30 minutes to be successful.
Talk to Union Dental’s implant dentist
At Union Dental Center, we use advanced technologies to provide a comfortable and effective dental implant experience. Our office features modern and minimally-invasive procedures available to get the best results. But what patients appreciate the most about our dentist is the compassionate, welcoming, and friendly team.
Whether you’ve just lost a tooth or have been missing a tooth for years, we can help. We offer a judgment-free environment and the gentle care you need to feel completely at ease.
Dr. Friedman earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1996. For over 20 years, Dr. Friedman has been creating the smiles of his patients’ dreams. He believes that nothing should stand between you and a healthier smile.