While dental implants serve a primary purpose to replace the function of lost teeth, they are also meant to restore the aesthetics of your smile. It is understandable that patients not only want a complete smile, but one that is also white and attractive. Don’t worry; you can have both. However, the rules of teeth whitening aren’t the same if you have dental implants versus natural teeth – or some combination of both.
Can you whiten your teeth if you have dental implants? This is a simple question with a not so straightforward answer. The truth is, you can undergo teeth whitening (even professional treatments at your dental office) without harming your dental implants. However, you can’t expect the cosmetic treatment to be effective on your dental implant teeth.
The main goal of any good dentist is to save your natural teeth. However, tooth extractions are a part of general dental care – in the right situation. Removing a permanent tooth is never suggested without good reason. In fact, we only extract a tooth (or multiple teeth) if your overall smile health is at risk by leaving it in.
Preparing for Your Tooth Extraction
Don’t worry, modern dentistry offers plenty of ways to keep you relaxed and out of pain during your extraction procedure. However, an extraction is an oral surgery so you’ll want to be sure to communicate the following information with your dentist prior to your appointment:
- Your complete medical history
- Medications you’re currently
- History of heart issues or man-made heart valves
- Impaired immune system deficiencies
- Artificial joints or past surgeries
- A medical history of bacterial endocarditis
Dental implant placement is not what it was a decade ago – it is substantially better. For both the patient and the dentist, dental implants have dramatically improved with the integration of 3D Cone Beam technology. This advanced three-dimensional x-ray technology allows your dentist to see a complete and accurate depiction of your overall oral and facial bone characteristics as well as the nerves and sinuses that surround your jaw. This can be done prior to surgery so that your dentist can plan for the most precise and successful implant placement possible. The 3D Cone Beam allows for “guided implant surgery.” And if you are getting titanium posts inserted into your jaw to support a new set of teeth, wouldn’t you want your dentist to have this remarkable foresight?
If you have traditional (removable) dentures and struggle with the way they fit or feel, you are not alone. Many patients not only have to suffer from an uncomfortable set of teeth, but they end up restricting their eating habits and even their facial expressions due to the fear of their dentures slipping. That’s no way to live – especially when there is a solution!
It helps to understand why your dentures are failing to provide the stability, comfort and confidence you had hoped for. There is a primary reason why patients experience a multitude of denture woes. Traditional dentures replace missing teeth, but they do not replace the roots of the teeth that once existed. This is important because without the tooth root, the jaw and gum ridge fails to retain its form and your bite force is drastically reduced. In fact, denture-wearers may experience a reduced bite force by as much as 75%!
Once you lose a tooth, there is a critical need to replace it. Replacing a missing tooth ensures that your surrounding teeth stay healthy and aligned. It also means that you don’t lose dental function (chewing, speaking, etc). What you may not know is that you have two primary options when it comes to replacing a single tooth: a dental bridge and a dental implant.
In order to make the best choice for particular needs and goals, it is important to first understand what each of these restorative options involve.
Dental implants have a remarkable success rate. In fact, they work just like they should in over 98% of patients who get them. However, that doesn’t mean that implant failure doesn’t occur. There are certain situations, habits and even medications that can threaten your dental implant’s ability to fuse to the jawbone and provide a long-term anchor for your prosthetic tooth or teeth. Fortunately, you’ll find that these risk factors are largely within your control so it is important to educate yourself before your implant procedure.
Dental implants are by far the most superior solution in tooth replacement. Not only do they look, feel and function like real teeth, but they are a permanent restorative solution. Dental implants are said to last a lifetime! However, there are a few things you should know about that statement. First, dental implants, just like your real teeth, require proper care. They are not totally indestructible. Second, your dental implant involves two components: the titanium implant itself and the implant restoration that is placed on top (prosthetic tooth or teeth). Only one of these parts can last forever.
The implant that is inserted into your jawbone during a minor oral surgery is made of strong, biocompatible titanium. It fuses to your jawbone over a period of several weeks and can serve as a permanent artificial tooth root for your prosthetic tooth or teeth. The implant is designed to last a lifetime as long as the surrounding gum and jawbone are cared for. The implant itself won’t decay or corrode and it can’t withstand everyday dental function with ease.
While it is easy to convince someone to replace a front missing tooth, it often requires more effort to help them understand why a back molar needs a replacement with a dental implant. To be clear, this refers to the second molars and excludes the wisdom teeth, as the wisdom teeth are typically removed during late teens and don’t serve real functional benefit in the mouth. However, patients who have a second molar missing or extracted commonly ask if it is really necessary to replace it? Here’s a closer look at that answer.
Is it a Lower or Upper Molar?
It can make a difference whether you are missing an upper second molar or a lower one. If it is a lower molar, the answer is almost always “yes – you need to replace it.” These set of back molars are your primary chewing teeth, and they are directly in line with the main chewing muscle called the masseter. If you are missing that lower molar, the corresponding upper molar may begin to “over erupt” out of the socket in an effort to make contact with its long lost partner.
According to HealthLine, bone grafting is a “transplanting of bone tissue that is beneficial in fixing bones that are damaged from trauma, or problem joints. It’s also useful for growing bone around an implanted device.” Since its discovery, bone grafting has revolutionized and opened new possibilities for many areas of the medical field. When it comes to dentistry, bone grafting is a key procedure that makes dental implants possible for a notable number of patients who would otherwise not qualify for this unrivaled solution in teeth replacement.
When it comes to replacing a missing tooth, there is simply no better solution than a dental implant. If you have lost one of your natural teeth, you may be wondering if you qualify for this superior restorative treatment. The good news is that most people are good candidates for implant dentistry.
While only a professional evaluation can confirm your candidacy for dental implants, your chances are looking very good if the following applies to you: