How Tooth Loss Affects Your Health
In a 2014 study by the American College of Prosthodontists found that 178 million Americans were missing at least one permanent tooth. Today, tooth loss is still a common problem that can damage your smile, lower your self-esteem, and more.
Dangers of Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can increase your chances of developing issues such as:
- Gum inflammation, infection, and recession
- Nutritional deficit
- Dental drift
Resorption takes place because the jawbone lacks stimulation due to the missing tooth’s root. The lack of stimulation causes the jawbone to weaken and absorb back into the body. This can result in facial issues such as premature wrinkles and sagging skin.
Dental drift is when teeth move around and shift out of place. Some dental drift is normal, but tooth loss can cause surrounding teeth to shift and try to occupy the space. This can lead to overcrowding, misalignment, inflammation, and pain.
The longer a missing tooth goes untreated, the greater your chances are of developing more serious health issues. Removable dental appliances can help restore the appearance of your smile. However, they can’t preserve your jawbone density or prevent wear and tear on your gums.
For this reason, Dr. Nishime recommends dental implants as the most effective method to restore the complete function of your smile.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are lifelike tooth restorations used to replace any missing or damaged teeth. Made of biocompatible titanium, implants are anchored directly into the jawbone for unmatched support and strength. Dental implants can come in the form of crowns, dentures, and bridges.
Dental implants are made of three separate parts:
- The titanium implant is the foundation
- The abutment is the connector piece between the foundation and restoration
- The restoration is placed to replace missing teeth
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Unlike dentures, dental implants won’t slide around in your mouth, never need to be removed, and can be cleaned just like natural teeth. Implants can last a lifetime with proper care and offer many advantages such as:
- Look, act, and feel like your natural teeth
- Prevent jawbone deterioration
- Improve ability to chew and speak with ease
- Secured to your jaw
- Resistant to decay and staining
Dental Implant Patient Testimonial
The Dental Implant Process
Before receiving your custom-made dental implants, you’ll visit our office in Honolulu for a consultation. Dr. Nishime will examine your oral health and mouth with a CT scan. This advanced technology produces high-quality 3D images that can display the entirety of your mouth.
In some cases, a supplemental procedure such as a bone graft or gum graft may be necessary to prepare for implant placement.
Some patients may experience resorption caused by tooth loss. In this case, advanced implant placement may not be an option. Dr. Nishime may recommend a bone graft to help secure the dental implant by transferring bone to the future implant site.
Recessed gums can destabilize the restoration, leading to implant failure. Similar to bone grafting, soft tissue augmentation or gum grafting can stabilize the implant by transferring tissue to the area where gums have receded.
Dental Implant Surgery
If dental implants are right for you, we can begin the process right away. You’ll return to our office to undergo implant surgery. Here’s what to expect:
- Before the procedure, we’ll provide you with an anesthetic to prevent you from feeling any pain. Sedation dentistry is also available for patients feeling anxious and uneasy, upon request.
- Dr. Nishime will begin by making incisions into your gums. He’ll place the titanium implant directly into your jaw, where it’ll integrate itself into the bone. Then the incisions will be sewn shut.
- The healing process known as osseointegration can take up to six months.
Once you’ve healed completely, you’ll return to our Honolulu office to finish the last step of your treatment. Dr. Nishime will securely attach your customized restoration to the implant fixture. You’ll walk out of our office the same day with a fully functional, stunning new smile!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here at Advanced Restorative Dentistry, your comfort is our number one priority. We’ll apply an anesthetic and ensure it’s working properly before any surgical procedures take place.
It’s common to experience some lingering pain and discomfort post-op. However, this will go away on its own within 10 days following the procedure. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort for longer than 10 days, call us immediately and we’ll determine how to best solve your problem.
While one missing tooth may not seem urgent, the open space can make you more susceptible to oral issues such as inflammation, decay, infection, overcrowding, and dental drift. The sooner you replace a missing tooth, the greater damage you can help prevent in the future.
After implant surgery, you should wait until the anesthetic has worn off before you start eating again. Failure to wait for the anesthetic to wear off can result in unknowingly biting down too hard. This can damage your cheeks, lips, tongue, or new implants.
We recommend eating certain soft foods and beverages after implant surgery such as:
- Soft fruit
- Cooked vegetables
Avoid crunchy, chewy, or hard foods and drinks that are sugary, alcoholic, or hot for at least one week after surgery. If reintroduced to your diet too soon, these items can damage your implants, disrupt the healing process, and increase tooth sensitivity.
Ideal candidates for dental implants are adults who have lost one tooth or multiple teeth. Ideally, they’ll have healthy gums and sufficient jawbone density. Some patients may require a supplemental procedure to help prepare for successful implant placement.
During your consultation, Dr. Nishime will review your medical history and discuss your options so you can make an informed, healthy decision.
To learn more about dental implants, call Advanced Restorative Dentistry at our office located in Honolulu, Hawaii by dialing (808) 732-0291. You can also book your appointment online and we’ll get back to you shortly.