When you are missing a tooth, it may feel like you are missing a part of your identity. Missing teeth can cause not only self-confidence issues, but it can damage your oral health. The root of a natural tooth stimulates the jaw bone during chewing. When a tooth is missing, the jaw bone does not get stimulated and begins to weaken. Over time, this can lead to nearby teeth shifting out of place and sagging facial features.
Dental implants are a popular, long-term solution for a missing tooth because they replicate a natural tooth, root and all. The implant post stimulates the jaw bone, preventing bone loss and keeping nearby teeth in their proper position. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement solution that offers this benefit because it is the only option that fuses to the jaw bone.
Single dental implants can replace a single missing or damaged tooth as often as needed throughout the mouth. Because they fuse to the jaw bone for a sturdy foundation, dental implants are strong enough to even replace a molar. As few as four implant posts can support a fixed bridge through a full-arch restoration procedure, resulting in a completely new smile.
Immediate dental implants, or same-day dental implants, are ones that are placed at the same appointment as a tooth extraction. If you have enough jaw bone to support the implant, your oral surgeon can insert the implant post into the empty socket. In doing so, the bone will heal around the implant and fuse together.
By replacing the missing tooth immediately, you reduce the number of appointments needed to restore the tooth and prevent the jaw bone from having the chance to deteriorate due to tooth loss. If there is not enough bone around the empty socket, we can place a bone graft to promote the growth of new bone. Once healed, we can then place the implant post and restore the missing tooth.
Even if many years have passed since an adult tooth was extracted, you can replace it with a dental implant. When a missing tooth is left untreated, the jaw bone will atrophy in that area over time. Nearby teeth can shift into the empty space, and facial features may begin to sag due to a weakened jaw.
If there is enough jaw bone to support the implant, your oral surgeon can place the implant post into the empty socket, even if years have passed since the tooth was removed. If the jaw bone has atrophied, we can place a bone graft into the empty socket. This will stimulate nearby bone to grow around the graft, resulting in new, healthy bone. Once healed, there will be enough of a foundation to support a dental implant.
There are many tooth replacement options to consider following extraction. Some patients opt for cheaper restoration options, like dental bridges or removable partial dentures. These options do not fuse to the jaw bone or keep it healthy and can lead to costly surgery down the line to repair extensive bone loss. Tooth-supported bridges require adjacent teeth to be grinded down to fit the bridge. Implant-supported bridges can support the bridge instead, protecting your jaw bone and existing teeth from damage.
The experts at 7x7 Dental Implant & Oral Surgery Specialists can restore your smile at any age. It’s never too late to achieve the healthy and complete you deserve. Contact our offices in San Francisco, California, to explore your tooth restoration options.