Implant Center of Los Angeles Is the Leading Expert to Replace Teeth
You have probably heard that a dental implant is the ideal replacement if you are missing a tooth, whether due to an accident or gum disease that led to it falling out or needing to be extracted. It’s one of the biggest oral health problems, since 178 million Americans have lost at least one tooth and 40 million have no teeth left at all, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. Tooth loss
dramatically increases as we age, with 26% of those over 74 having lost all their teeth.
But what exactly is an implant, what is involved in the procedure, and how does it compare with
dentures and dental bridges for replacing teeth?
INFO ON IMPLANTS
At the Implant Center of Los Angeles in Hollywood, we have many patients in the entertainment industry who need to maintain their perfect smiles for those close-ups and obviously can’t show a gap where a tooth is missing. An implant is the most realistic way to allow them to flash a full smile without embarrassment.
This starts with a screw-like implant, made of the biocompatible metals zirconia or titanium, that replaces the root of the tooth, which is inserted into the jawbone underneath the socket (painlessly, since the patient has a choice of a number of anesthetic options). It usually takes a few months to fully integrate with the bone, when it can be attached to a dental crown, crafted by a top dental lab to look like the missing tooth and matching the exact shade of the remaining teeth. While waiting for this process to be completed, the patient is given a temporary crown.
Appearance aside, implants have a major advantage over alternatives like dental bridges and dentures because implants integrate into the jaw, which keeps the bone intact, exactly as if the tooth were never missing (which is why the implant should be placed as soon as possible after the loss). When a tooth is gone, the jaw has a natural response of causing the neighboring teeth to lean in to cover the gap, which results in those becoming looser, causing a misalignment of the bite and eventually the loss of other teeth.
Without teeth in their proper place, the jaw also begins losing bone, which is why dentures, whether partials or full, have to be adjusted about every five years, since they usually are just sitting on top of the gums.
All-on-4 implants are an alternative to single implants or dentures for those who have lost many of their teeth on either the upper or lower jaw. Instead of the expense and process of replacing each one, a platform can be anchored into the arch with just four implants, while the crowns for all the missing teeth are visible on top. Even dentures, known as overdentures, can be embedded into the upper or lower jawbone, which will slow erosion of the bone.
Bridges are artificial teeth that hang over the gap where the tooth was, attached to the remaining teeth that were adjacent. As WebMD notes, while bridges prevent misalignment, the replacement tooth is not embedded in the jaw and so not as effective at preserving the bone. They can also lead to gum recession around the bridge, weakening of teeth to which the bridge is attached, and decay if the cement gets washed away.
Bridges are less expensive than implants, but implants can be a permanent solution to missing teeth, while bridges typically only last 5-10 years, even with excellent dental hygiene.
Not everyone can qualify to have dental implants right away. If they lack sufficient jawbone, a bone graft may be necessary. Advanced osteoporosis would also disqualify someone, as well as diabetes that is not under control. Cancer patients who have undergone radiation treatment or chemotherapy may find this will interfere with the bonding process for an implant.
Call the Implant Center of Los Angeles to set an appointment and explore your best options for missing teeth.