Missing front teeth might be cute on a five year old, but it’s a totally different story for an adult. Nothing can off put a smile more than the gap left by a missing tooth, and at Hatch Family Dentistry in Tempe, we recognize that. We know how important a beautiful smile is to you, which is why the cosmetic dentistry skills of Drs. Konkle and Dr. Hatch extend to one of the best ways to replace missing teeth: dental implants.
Dental implants are a relatively new technique in the cosmetic dentistry field, and one of the most technologically advanced as well. Rather than relying on surface modifications to replace a tooth, dental implants make the prosthetic an actual part of the oral system. The structure of the implant mimics the natural structure of a tooth as much as possible, creating an organic and seamless result.
Because of the unique way in which dental implants are attached (see below), the finished product is superb on both a functional and aesthetic level. First of all, you should have no problems chewing or speaking post-procedure. The tooth should act completely normally and present no functional side effects. Furthermore, for an outside observer, the presence of an implant should be virtually undetectable, even more so than a dental bridge.
If you’re familiar with different types of dental prosthetics, though, you might be thinking, aren’t aesthetics and functionality trademarks of every modern procedure? Why should I get dental implants? To answer that question, we’ll compare dental implants with the two other most common types of dental prosthetics: dentures and bridges.
The advantage dental implants have over dentures is easy enough to intuit–unlike dentures, dental implants are permanent and require little maintenance. One of the biggest problems patients might have with dentures is the fact that dentures need special maintenance to last, and, even then, they don’t last that long. Dental implants bypass these problems by being a permanent solution that require nothing more than brushing and flossing to clean.
Dental bridges are also permanent and easy to clean, but the major drawback of dental bridges lies in a different area: the actual procedure. The main problem patients have with dental bridges is the fact that even if the neighboring teeth are healthy, they will need to be modified for the bridge to attach properly. Dental implants, on the other hand, are relatively non-invasive. Surgery is required to insert the implant, but other remaining healthy teeth aren’t affected.
After applying the local anesthetic and sedation, if necessary, a small, tapered titanium post will be placed. This piece of metal is surgically implanted inside the gums to act as the root of a prosthetic tooth that will be attached later.
Over the next three to six months, the jawbone will actually fuse to the metal. This unique property of titanium has been used across the medical field, but dentists’ adaptation of the orthopedic tool has been vastly beneficial to patients with missing teeth.
Once this fusion stabilizes and heals, the actual prosthetic — bridge, denture or crown — can be attached to the implant. The artificial crowns will be made to match the color and shape of the missing tooth, this dental crown can securely fit over the implant and mimic the visible part of a tooth.
If you’re interested in getting a dental implant, or if you just want to learn more about the procedure, be sure to drop by Hatch Family Dentistry. Drs. Konkle and Dr. Hatch provide dental implants for patients in the greater Phoenix area (Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Ahwatukee). They’re always happy to talk to new patients about potential options. Just call (480) 838-3073 or visit our website to set up an appointment today!