Your teeth play a very important role in your overall health. Maintaining your teeth and proper oral hygiene lead to you living a healthier life as well. Losing a tooth can have significant consequences, as it can affect your speech, your bite, and your appetite. Additionally, tooth loss leads to jaw bone loss in the area of the tooth. Your body's natural response to not having a tooth is to lose a significant portion of bone due to lack of involvement of that area. Thus, the best decision you can make for both your oral and overall health is to replace the tooth lost.
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There are many tooth replacement options, but it is widely regarded that dental implants are the best decision you can make for superior oral health. Unlike other options, implants allow for a comfortable, permanent structure to be placed into your jaw to prevent bone loss and to provide a solid foundation for a tooth. Furthermore, implants can last a lifetime with little to no management required, all while providing an aesthetically pleasing and attractive smile for you to show off.
The procedure for dental implants take about 45 - 60 minutes for a single implant, and can be under different types of anesthesia, all of which will be discussed with you by Dr. Duncan during your consultation. You will be given prescriptions to take for the procedure, and a follow up appointment will be scheduled for two weeks after the surgery to check the surgery site and positioning of the implant.
Implants are usually placed after a tooth has been extracted. This can be at the time of the extraction or several months after the extraction has taken place. The decision will be made by Dr. Duncan depending on various factors, such as bone health, bone density, additional procedures required, and more. If you have an infection or other problems, it is likely that you will have to wait a few months after your extraction for the placement of the implant.
If your tooth has been lost for a while, bone loss at the area may have already started to occur. In this case, implants are still your best option, but the implant will likely be accompanied with bone grafting and other procedures to maintain the integrity of the bone at the site.
After placement of the implant, there are still a few steps left before you will have a crown placed (the "tooth") at the site of the implant. You will need an abutment placed after the implant, after which the crown will be ready to be placed on the implant. The timeline for getting to the crown is varied, as the healing process is dependent on each person, but you should expect the following 3-5 months after your implant placement, the abutment will be placed; 1 month after the abutment placement, you will be ready for the final restoration of the crown. Between these procedures there will be several follow-up appointments to ensure that your mouth is healing well without complication.
The final restoration and crown will be completed by your dentist or prosthodontist. We will recommend them to make impressions of your mouth either before the extraction or implant surgery so that the final product looks as similar to your original tooth. Our office will be in constant communication with your dentist to ensure that you get the best care.