Are you missing some teeth? Is it becoming more painful to eat? Do you feel embarrassed to talk or smile? Maybe you’re all of these things, but you’re still not sure if the time and cost of replacing your tooth is worth it. Maybe you feel like you can function quite well despite missing teeth, so you’d rather save the money for a trip to Hawaii.
“Living with missing teeth (or a missing tooth) is not recommended and can be potentially dangerous”, says Sam Shin, an expert dentist at Smile Well Dental’s North Vancouver (North Van) dental clinic. “Missing teeth increases your risk of oral infections, which can cause serious pain around your mouth and spread serious issues to other parts of your body.”
What Causes Missing Teeth?
Many factors can determine the cause for missing teeth including your health and lifestyle choices. Sometimes, the cause of missing teeth can be hereditary. The most common causes of missing teeth are:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Congenitally missing teeth (when you’re born without certain teeth)
- Heredity and genetic factors
- Systemic diseases (i.e. ectodermal dysplasia)
Among this list, tooth decay, gum disease, and injury are the most common causes of missing teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease stems from poor dental hygiene, whereas injury can be related to a serious slip or fall. Congenitally missing teeth are caused by genetic factors and is often seen in generations within a family.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium metal rods (or Zirconia) inserted into your jawbone to replace the tooth roots of your missing teeth. Compared to other solutions like dentures, bridges and crowns, dental implants are more effective long-term solutions for people suffering with missing teeth. This is because they fit, feel and function like natural teeth. In Canada, especially here at Smile Well Dental, dental implants have become the new standard for tooth replacement.
What to Expect Before a Dental Implant Procedure?
Before the actual dental implants surgery, you will be thorough evaluated by a variety of specialists to ensure that you are the right candidate for a dental implant surgery. The planning process includes a:
- Complete dental exam. A detailed model will be constructed according to dental X-rays and 3D images of your teeth and jaw.
- Comprehensive medical history review. Your doctor will review your previous medical conditions and medication history, including prescription drugs and supplements. If you suffer from certain heart conditions or have pre-existing orthopedic implants, your doctor may suggest antibiotics to prevent infections.
- Tailored treatment plan. The details and length of this treatment plan depends on numerous factors such as how many teeth you need replaced, the condition of your jawbone, and the health of your remaining teeth.
What to Expect During a Dental Implant Procedure?
Normally, a dental implant surgery requires multiple procedures, with sufficient healing time between each procedure. The process of placing a dental implant typically involves these 6 steps:
- Damaged tooth removal
- Jawbone preparation (bone grafting), if necessary
- Dental implant placement
- Bone growth and healing
- Abutment placement
- Artificial tooth placement
A dental implant procedure generally takes 6-8 months to complete. Although majority of the time is devoted to healing and waiting for new bones to grow in your jaw. Knowing this beforehand is important to prepare you for a lengthy wait. However, depending on the specific procedure, your dental health and the materials used, some steps can be combined to shorten this time frame.
What to Expect After a Dental Implant Surgery?
Common occurrences after a dental implant surgery include:
- Swelling of the face and gums
- Pain surrounding the dental implant site
- Minor bleeding
After the dental implant surgery, if swelling and discomfort continues to get worse, contact your dentist. You may require prescription meds or antibiotics to ease the pain. During the healing process, drink plenty of cool fluids and eat as much soft foods as you can. Do not use straws, as the sucking motion can trigger more bleeding. Avoid carbonated beverages or very hot foods or drinks.
Despite the tips shared on this article, each individual case is unique. No two mouths are alike. Do not accept well-intended advice from friends. If you have any questions or concerns, discuss them with Dr. Shin and his experienced surgical staff.
Contact information here.
Email: [email protected]
Phone Number: 778-340-2897