If you have lost one or more teeth, you might be considering dental implants to replace them. Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option. They are more like your natural teeth than any other tooth replacement out there. They are so much like your natural teeth, in fact, that your lost teeth might have a significant impact on your dental implants even after they’re gone.
Cause of Loss
One of the most important ways your lost teeth could impact your dental implants is how you lost them. Dental implants could be affected if you lose your teeth due to:
- Gum disease
- Infection or failed root canal
- Clenching and grinding
Depending on the cause of your tooth loss, we might have to take additional steps to ensure success with your dental implants.
Teeth Lost to Trauma
Dental implants depend on your jawbone for support. The parts of the jawbone that support your teeth might have been damaged in trauma that knocked out your teeth. If that’s the case, we might need to graft bone to create enough bone to support the implant.
Teeth Lost to Gum Disease
If you lost your teeth to gum disease, we might have to deal with the effects of that before placing your dental implants. Gum disease can impact your dental implants the same way it affects your natural teeth. Before we place your dental implants, we will make sure your gum disease is under control. Since gum disease can damage your bones, too, you might need a bone graft before dental implants.
Teeth lost to Infection
If your tooth was infected, that infection could have spread to your bone around the tooth. It might have created hollows in or holes through your bone. We will have to address any remnants of infection before placing your implant. We might have to perform a bone graft for damage to the bone.
Tooth Lost to Clenching and Grinding
Clenching and grinding can lead to tooth loss if it breaks your teeth or wears them down. Clenching and grinding could also damage your dental implants. Our first concern is whether excessive pressure might prevent your implant from integrating with your jaw bone. Then we might worry that your clenching behaviors could damage your replacement dental crown, the implant, or the abutment that attaches them.
To protect the implant, we might use a bite guard. This will reduce the amount of force your dental implants have to deal with. We might also take a multistage approach to your dental implants, ensuring the artificial roots integrate fully with the jawbone before adding the dental crown or bridge.
For long-term success, we might recommend getting tested for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD) then getting appropriate treatment to reduce or eliminate clenching and grinding.
Size, Shape, and Spacing
Your dental implant or implants will have to go into the places left vacant by your natural teeth. This means that your dental implants are affected by your natural teeth’s size, shape, and spacing.
If you have very small teeth, losing one might not leave enough space for a dental implant, even a mini implant. When placing dental implants, we need to have enough spacing between the implant and the roots of your natural teeth.
This might be true, too, if the tooth you lost was crooked or tilted. It might also be due to the way your remaining teeth are tilted–their roots might close together under the surface, not leaving enough space for us to place an implant.
The good news is that we can discern all this before we start your dental implant procedure. In addition to measuring your teeth above your gums, we can use our dental CT scan–like a 3D x-ray–to identify how much space there is in your jawbone for dental implants. We can make a plan on that basis before we get started so that you can make an informed decision about the process at the beginning.
Your dental implant doesn’t have to look like the tooth you lost. However, the appearance of your lost tooth will likely impact the appearance of your dental implant.
First, there’s the fact that while your tooth is gone, it’s not forgotten. You remember what it looked like. People often want their dental implant to look like the tooth they lost. They want to retain the unique character of their smile, and with modern cosmetic dentistry, we can do that.
We also face the issue that you will want your dental implant to match your remaining teeth. Dental implants can look so much like natural teeth people won’t be able to tell which is which if we do it right. However, we can also decide to match your natural teeth to your dental implant rather than matching your implant to your natural teeth.
Work with a Skilled Implant Dentist in Rochester Hills
Placing dental implants can be a complicated process. It’s essential to choose your implant dentist carefully to get the results you want. Find an implant dentist with the training, experience, and technology to achieve your goal of making your smile whole and beautiful again. At Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry, we understand the complexities of dental implants and what it takes to achieve good results. Please call (248) 656-2020 or email us today to schedule a consultation to discuss what it takes to achieve good results for your dental implants.