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Losing a tooth can significantly disrupt quality of life and make it difficult to chew your favorite foods, speak, and smile. Restorative dental procedures have reduced the number of tooth extractions performed annually. However, approximately 70% of Americans aged 35-44 are missing at least one natural tooth. Many individuals are seeking a permanent and lifelong replacement such as a dental implant. A dental implant is a fixture that is embedded within the jawbone and replaces natural teeth by supporting a prosthesis, such as a crown or fixed denture. After placement, bone formation occurs in the surrounding area of the implant, resulting in firm anchorage and stability of the artificial tooth. The success and durability of dental implants is dependent upon their ability to form direct contact with the surrounding jawbone. This process is known as osseointegration and ensures that any prosthesis that is placed over the implant remains retained and stable, thereby restoring optimal functioning of the artificial tooth.

Placement of dental implants is usually carried out in multiple stages. Typically, a dentist will begin by formulating a treatment plan. The dentist takes a detailed look at medical and dental records, followed by 3D imaging and an extensive clinical examination of your mouth. This ensures that you are a suitable candidate for getting an implant, and to prepare a treatment plan that is tailored according to your dental needs. The patient will then be scheduled for the procedure. During dental implant surgery, tooth roots are replaced with metal, screw-like posts, providing a strong foundation, while the damaged or missing teeth are replaced with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. The type of surgery performed depends on the type of implant and the jawbone’s condition. A surgery may take place over several appointments. Generally, an individual with one or more natural teeth missing is a good candidate for a dental implant. An implant may be a good solution for those seeking a long term and durable tooth replacement option, while also restoring facial aesthetics and improving speech.

While dental implants are a great option, there are other solutions that can also be used to restore damaged or missing teeth. Removable prosthetics which include complete and partial dentures are a more economical choice. Dentures can be used for a temporary or a permanent fit and can be a good option for those who have natural teeth remaining. Typically implants used to anchor permanent bridges or dentures. An implant-supported denture or bridge can also be used to better support, functionality and comfort.

A fixed dental bridge is also a popular choice for patients. A bridge uses the teeth on either side of the damaged or missing teeth and will anchor the bridge into place. The anchor teeth need to be prepared to accommodate dental crowns. Dental bridges are permanent and cannot be removed without the help of a dentist. These can last up to a decade with proper oral care and examinations. It will take several appointments with your dentist for the bridge to be completed and cemented into place. An additional visit to the dentist may be necessary to ensure the bridge is a perfect fit and not negatively affecting the patient’s bite.

It is never too late to reverse the effects of missing teeth and there are a variety of options that will work with your budget and lifestyle. There are permanent missing teeth solutions such as dental implants, less expensive options like dentures, or a combination of both with implant-retained dentures. Preventive care and replacing the tooth early is always going to be the least expensive option to treat dental problems long term. If you are wanting to better understand your tooth replacement options, are missing teeth and are concerned about your dental future or are experiencing symptoms from missing a tooth, make an appointment! Contact Pro Solutions Dental at: 928-776-1208 or visit us online at: We would like to invite you to Dr. Jason Campbell’s FREE Community Seminar. Empower yourself with information about the secrets to keeping your teeth healthy and the options available for missing and damaged teeth.