A missing tooth can damage your bite as the other teeth in your mouth begin to shift toward the empty space. In addition, the bone underneath the gap left by a missing tooth can deteriorate. Missing teeth can also affect your eating habits and even lead to malnutrition. Therefore, it is essential for your overall health to replace any missing teeth sooner rather than later. The only truly permanent way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant.
A dental implant is a titanium metal screw that acts as your tooth’s natural root. Once this tiny screw has integrated into your jaw bone, a restoration such as a dental crown will be attached to look, feel, and function like a natural tooth. Woodlands Premier Dentistry is one of very few Houston dental practices with an implant dentist who can perform the entire dental implant procedure in-house.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Before your dental implant procedure, your Houston implant dentist Dr. Scott Young will make sure you have sufficient bone density in your jaw to hold the implant in place. If not, you may need to have a bone graft before you can receive your dental implant. You will be given a local anesthetic so that you feel no pain while Dr. Young prepares the implant site and places the dental implant. To help you heal, a few sutures will need to remain in place for the next one to two weeks.
The healing process for dental implants takes 3-6 months, during which time your bone tissue will heal and grow around the implant, holding it in place. This process is called osseointegration, and is essential for the success of your implant. Once osseointegration is complete, you can return to your implant dentist and have a dental crown permanently attached to replace your missing tooth. While your mouth is healing, you will be given a temporary replacement tooth so that the gap in your smile is filled during the entire implant process.
Very rarely, a dental implant may not anchor properly to the jawbone. This may be the result of a number of factors, such as:
- Chronic diseases or conditions
- Severe jaw grinding or tooth clenching
- Jaw misalignment
- Heavy use of alcohol or tobacco that impedes healing
If your dental implant fails, you can wait until your mouth has fully healed and talk to Dr. Young about the possibility of a second chance for a dental implant.
Read about Dental Implant Candidacy
If you have one or more missing teeth, please contact Houston implant dentist Dr. Young at Woodlands Premier Dentistry to arrange an initial oral exam and a consultation to see if you can benefit from dental implants.