It can be difficult to find anything to smile about if you have missing teeth. Those gaps in your teeth can be not just embarrassing, but missing teeth can lead to bone loss from your jaw if you don't do something about it. There are several ways to deal with the problem of missing teeth, so read on to learn more about your options and in particular a relatively new way to use dental implants.
Dealing With Missing Teeth
Dental professionals have ways to replace those spaces with alternatives that not only increase the attractiveness of your smile but that help preserve your jaw bone. Dentures have been around for many years and are undoubtedly the least expensive way to deal with this issue. Dentures and bridges are usually removable and may break or crack and need replacing. Dentures must be removed every day for cleaning. Dental implant treatment, however, presents a non-removable and more sturdy way to deal with missing teeth.
What is a Dental Implant?
Implants are permanently attached to the gums and inserted directly into the bones of the jaw underneath the gums. The process for traditional dental implants is as follows:
- A titanium post (also known as an abutment) is inserted surgically into the bone.
- A waiting period of anywhere from three to six months or so then follows, allowing the post to fuse to the jaw bone.
- Once fused, the abutment is covered with a post that will hold the artificial tooth on top.
- This type of procedure requires that you have a sufficient bone in your jaw so that the implant has a firm place to anchor.
What is a Mini Dental Implant?
For those that don't have enough bone mass to sustain a traditional dental implant, a mini implant might be an option. The way these implants are inserted also means they are ready immediately with no waiting period for the implant to fuse. Mini implants are quite a bit smaller in structure (the post or abutment) and consist of one piece made of titanium with a rubber o-ring that allows the artificial tooth to be attached right away during the surgery. The tiny size of the implant means faster fusing and less gum inflammation, which means the entire procedure can often be done in one visit.
How to Care for Your Implant
The often-heard advice about seeing your dentist, brushing, and flossing hold true for implants. Mini implants are sturdy, but may not be as long-lasting as regular implants due to their size. However, if you hate the thought of multiple visits and surgeries, this option might be perfect for you.