If you have a missing tooth or teeth, replacing them is essential to preserving your smile. Fortunately, you have several options for replacing a lost natural tooth. Depending on which options you qualify for, oral surgery may be able to help restore your smile.
Oral surgery for missing teeth essentially refers to the dental implant process. With oral surgery, you can effectively replace your lost tooth and have a lifetime tooth restoration that requires minimal maintenance.
What is the oral surgery process like for replacing missing teeth, and how do you know if you qualify? Here’s how oral surgery can help replace missing teeth and what you should know about it.
What Is Oral Surgery for Missing Teeth?
Oral surgery for missing teeth is when a dentist or oral surgeon places a dental implant in your jaw. The implant is typically made of titanium or ceramic and will naturally fuse with your jawbone over the next few weeks. Once the post is fully healed and secure, your dentist will have a custom dental crown fabricated and attach it to the end of the implant.
After your dental crown is placed, the process will be complete. During the implant healing period, your dentist can place a temporary dental crown to help you maintain the appearance and function of your smile until the permanent one can be placed.
Some people who have been missing a natural tooth or teeth for several months or years may need a bone graft prior to oral surgery for missing teeth. This is because your jaw will naturally get rid of bone that’s no longer being stimulated by the tooth root over time. However, this bone is necessary to properly place a dental implant so that you have a secure tooth replacement.
How the Process Works
The process for dental implants begins with a consultation with your dentist in Asheville. Your dentist will take dental x-rays or other necessary images of your teeth to determine the density of your jawbone and the exact location of the missing tooth to find out if you are a candidate for dental implants.
Even if you don’t initially have enough bone in your jaw to properly support a dental implant, you may qualify for a bone graft. Although the bone graft procedure can add extra healing time before the implant and permanent dental crown can be placed, it will give you your best chance for success with dental implants.
During the implant procedure, you will have some form of sedation to help you stay relaxed during the procedure. You and your dentist can discuss the level of sedation you are comfortable with prior to your appointment.
Once the implant is placed, you will be allowed to go home after the procedure and can expect some minor swelling, bruising, and bleeding. Your Asheville dentist will let you know how to properly care for your implant and will schedule check-ups with you to ensure it is healing properly. You will need to eat soft foods and use caution when cleaning your smile.
After the implant is fully healed in your jaw, it’s time for your dental crown to be placed. You’ll come into the office to have the crown placed to ensure it fits comfortably and seamlessly matches your other teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants vs. Bridges or Dentures
Dental implants have many benefits over other tooth replacement options such as bridges and dentures. For one, dental implants never need to be replaced. Bridges and crowns will need to be replaced and updated over time, but with a dental implant, only the dental crown part will need to eventually be replaced. The actual implant stays put.
In addition, dental implants offer a level of comfort and security that’s difficult to replicate with bridges and crowns. Since the implant naturally fuses with your jaw, it’s very stable and secure, allowing you to do all your normal activities without worry, including chewing, biting, speaking, and smiling.
Even if you are missing most or all of your natural teeth, dental implants give you the opportunity to customize your tooth restorations. For example, you may qualify for all-on-four dental implants. In this procedure, instead of getting an implant for every single missing tooth, you will only need four to six implants placed, which support a permanent row of artificial teeth attached to the implants. This way, you can save money while still restoring your teeth with dental implants.
You may also have the option for an implant-supported bridge, which is a similar procedure but for fewer missing teeth. Your Asheville dentist will discuss all your options with you during your consultation.
Why You Need to Replace Missing Teeth
It’s imperative to replace missing teeth, even if they aren’t visible when you speak or smile. Each of your teeth plays a vital role in the alignment of your bite, how you chew, and even how you speak. When even a single tooth is missing, it can affect your smile over time.
The neighboring teeth will naturally shift to compensate for the gap in your smile, which can change your bite, affect your speaking, and potentially even lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.
Missing teeth can also impact your facial structure over time. This is because your body will get rid of the bone that’s no longer needed in that area. Over time, this can lead to your face looking thinner or more sunken in the areas where your missing teeth are, which can make your face appear more aged, especially if you have several missing teeth.
Since teeth also support proper chewing and speaking, missing natural teeth can also affect your confidence. Replacing your teeth with oral surgery is a lifetime investment in your smile.
Find Out More About Dental Implants
Want to find out more about oral surgery for replacing missing teeth? Book a consultation with Saunders DDS to find out if you qualify, what your procedure will be like, insurance coverage, and more. Give us a call at (828) 277-6060 or reach us online by submitting our contact form and our friendly staff will reach out shortly.
If you’re looking for ways to replace your missing teeth, you should talk with our dentist before making a final decision. Book an appointment online or contact us a call toll-free at (828) 277-6060