The Best Way to Replace a Tooth
At Kalil & Kress, we’re big fans of dental implants. They are far and away the best solution to replace a missing tooth. They also are great for supporting dentures, adding much-needed anchoring and providing confidence for the denture wearer.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is misnamed. The implant is the part of the entire prosthesis that is placed down into the jawbone. The implant is made of titanium and shaped like a screw. It is screwed down into the hole formerly occupied by your tooth root. Then a post is attached to the implant and an artificial tooth to that. Because dental implants are rooted in your jawbone, just like a natural tooth, they behave exactly like a natural tooth.
What are the advantages of implants?
The alternatives to implants are bridges or dentures. A bridge can fill a space of one or two missing teeth in a row. But bridges must be anchored with crowns on the adjacent healthy teeth on each side of the gap. Those teeth must be shaved down to make room for the crowns. Then the entire bridge is made with those outer crowns and the false tooth or teeth in the middle. The false teeth don’t go down into the gums as implants do, so you must be sure to keep the area clean where they meet the gumline. Plus, bite strength isn’t as strong as a bridge. Also, bridges have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, whereas implants often last the rest of the patient’s life.
Dentures usually replace a few missing teeth or an entire set. But dentures can slip and preclude you from eating certain foods. Also, they don’t stimulate the jawbone beneath them, as your natural teeth (and implants) do. That’s why we like using implants to anchor dentures.
Implants function just like your natural teeth. You can eat whatever you want. You brush and floss around them, just like a normal tooth. They are ultimately strong and will likely last the remainder of your life. Plus, implants stimulate your jawbone to continually build new bone mass, just as natural teeth do. This comes from the energy used in biting and chewing transferring down through the tooth, into the implant, and out into the surrounding jawbone.
Getting an implant with the team at Kalil & Kress takes three steps. First, the titanium implant is placed into your jawbone in the socket from the missing natural tooth. Then we give the jawbone time to grow around the implant and make it a part of the jaw. This takes from three to six months. That may seem like a long time, but, hey, it’s shorter than the Red Sox season!
Next, you come in, and we place a post into the implant and again let the gums heal for a few weeks. When they are ready, we then attach the artificial tooth to the post, and you’re good to go. The entire process takes from six to eight months.
Are you missing a tooth? We can place an implant to fill the gap. Call us at Kalil & Kress, (603) 880-7004, to make an appointment.