Why You Can’t Wait to Replace Missing Teeth With Dental Implants

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Why You Can’t Wait to Replace Missing Teeth With Dental Implants


According to the American College of Prosthodontists (specialists in oral devices for those who have lost teeth), a shocking 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and 40 million lack any teeth at all.


Already by ages 35-49 people have lost an average of three and those 50-64 have an average of five missing. As everyone who ends up edentulous (toothless) knows, no one should believe that a denture is a good replacement for a full set of real teeth. In actuality, it not only makes chewing uncomfortable and speaking clearly more difficult, but teeth support the structure of the face.


Also, removable dentures do not halt the natural erosion of the jaw when teeth are missing, so a new one has to be made perhaps every five years to fit right. Why this happens when the jaw does not have a full set of teeth or implants anchored into it is complicated. But the important thing to know is that when a tooth is missing, the jaw reacts by causing the neighboring teeth to lean in to “fill in the gap.” This in turn changes the alignment of the other teeth, loosening their positions in the jaw and potentially leading to more that need to be extracted.


The much better solution than a partial denture for every tooth that has been lost is a dental implant. This is a sophisticated screw made of biocompatible zirconia or titanium which is inserted into the socket where the tooth was. This requires a few months to fully integrate with the jawbone, then it is attached to a dental crown made of porcelain that looks exactly like and functions like the visible part of an actual tooth.


Implants by experts have a 95-98% success rate, some of them lasting over 20 years, as long as you treat implants and teeth the same when it comes to dental hygiene. That means brushing after breakfast for two minutes and again after dinner, then flossing at night. But this is really not sufficient to prevent teeth from decaying to the point of needing to be extracted or gums becoming infected and pulling away their support for teeth.


Wilshire Smile Studio strongly recommends that you have a professional cleaning by your dental hygienist at least twice a year, since she has the tools and techniques to do a much more thorough job than any patient of cleaning off plaque, the bacterial film that causes periodontal (gum) disease (which turns into hardened tartar, which only a hygienist can remove). If you are not sure if your brushing and flossing are being done in the most effective way, have her show you how. She may recommend adding a water flosser, a dental-grade mouthwash, the use of small bristle brushes to clean tight areas, or even the injection of an antibacterial solution for the most serious cases of gum inflammation.


Don’t Worry About Pain When It Comes to Implants

But given the high level of lost teeth among Americans, even those who have a dental exam twice a year, the odds are you will need to consider implants at some point. The good news is that the process is easy and painless at Wilshire Smile Studio because we are a multispecialty practice which has experienced experts in implants. We also work with a top local dental lab to craft each one (unfortunately, too many practices rely on discount labs, usually overseas, to save them money, which often results in poor quality implants due in part to miscommunication).


If you have had a fear of going to a dentist because of pain experienced earlier at another practice, you should know that we are known for using a wide variety of ways to prevent and alleviate pain:

    • Nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) which relaxes anxious patients and reduces anxiety, making even mild pain seem worse than it actually is.
    • Topical applications to numb the area to be worked on.
    • A pin-prick injection to provide a more powerful local anesthetic.
    • A mild form of benzodiazepine in pill form, which reduces the fear center of the brain and results in deep relaxation. This requires that you have someone give you a ride home, however.
    • The strong version of the pain pill can even cause you to go to sleep (and you also cannot drive after treatment).
    • If your preference is not to have even a memory of the dental surgery, an intravenous (I.V.) drip will put you to sleep. This, however, is usually used just for cases involving many implants or a bone graft to strengthen the jaw before an implant can be placed.


If you have even one tooth that has been lost, whether having fallen out or as the result of an accident, call Wilshire Smile Studio at (323) 433-5990 or book an appointment online for a full dental exam to determine what your best options are.


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(323) 433-5990
6200 Wilshire Blvd., #1609
Los Angeles, CA 90048

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