Losing our baby teeth is a process that’s normal and necessary during childhood. Once we reach adulthood, however, missing teeth can become both a cosmetic issue and a threat to our dental health. For patients who are feeling concerned or self-conscious about their missing teeth, dental implants can be a fantastic solution. By replacing missing teeth with dental implants, Dr. Gaertner and his staff at Bliss Dental in the Miami suburb of Kendall, can restore the function and look of the teeth for FL dental patients.
How Missing Teeth Affect Dental Health and Cosmetics
Missing teeth in adults may be the result of improper tooth formation, trauma, decay, or disease. Large gaps between the teeth can be problematic to oral health. Missing teeth can create shifting, leading to tooth misalignment. Crooked teeth create wear patterns that can cause excess wear of the teeth and cause irreparable stress of the structures. Lost teeth often leave behind large pits in the gums, making the tissue and surrounding teeth susceptible to bacterial infection. When the root of the tooth is no longer anchored in the jawbone, the bone can shrink. The loss of a few to several teeth can lead to advanced aging in the face due to this effect.
Tooth loss can also affect a person’s quality of life. Without a full set of teeth, people can experience problems with their speech. They may also be unable to enjoy certain foods as the integrity of the remaining teeth change after tooth loss. Tongue placement may feel uncomfortable and unnatural at times.
Aside from the complications and physical issues that can arise from tooth loss, most patients also have aesthetic concerns with their changing dentition. There are social issues surrounding tooth loss because this condition is common in poverty-stricken individuals, drug users, and those with poor hygiene. Dental implants can restore both the aesthetics and the function of the teeth, allowing patients to enjoy a healthier, happier, more confident life.
Consultation for Dental Surgery in Miami
Before Dr. Gaertner’s patients can undergo dental implants surgery in Miami, they must schedule an appointment to come to the office for a thorough dental workup. The overall health of the teeth will be assessed, X-rays will be captured of the bone and soft tissue in the mouth, and less commonly, patients may be required to undergo blood work. Any health issues must be disclosed in advance of the dental implants procedure to ensure patient safety during the surgical process. Patients are encouraged to read up on frequently asked questions about dental implants and come to the consultation with specific questions for the doctor.
Some patients are concerned about their anxiety levels during the in-office procedure, so concerns about comfort are also a part of the consultation. When possible, Dr. Gaertner offers the teeth-in-a-day method, where the patient receives same-day dental implants, avoiding the traditional 3-6 month placement process. This allows for a faster process with less time spent in the dental chair. In addition, Dr. Gaertner specializes in sedation dentistry which helps to ensure that all his patients are comfortable throughout their procedures.
One of the prerequisites for undergoing a dental implant procedure is a healthy bone structure. Because the artificial tooth will be secured into the jawbone, the patient’s anatomy must be able to support this process. Bone loss may need to be addressed with a bone graft prior to the placement of dental implants. This may require a referral to a specialist for more extensive cases.
If Dr. Gaertner identifies any cavities or signs of gum disease, they must be treated prior to the dental implant procedure. In certain cases where dental implants are not an option, Dr. Gaertner will create a treatment plan based on the patient’s specific needs to address restoration, permanency, and most importantly, health.
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Dental Implants Procedure for Tooth Replacement
Once a patient has been cleared for restoring their teeth with dental implants, the staff at Bliss Dental will take an impression of the patient’s teeth. It is from these molds that dental lab technicians can create a crown that matches the shape, size, and color of the surrounding teeth. Individual custom crowns will be made for each missing tooth to be replaced. The goal is for the teeth to maintain a natural look and for the natural and artificial teeth blend together seamlessly.
The next step in the dental implant surgery process is placing the synthetic tooth root. A metal post is implanted below the gum line and into the jawbone. Other tooth restoration procedures like bridges do not address this important component of the tooth structure, which is why dental implants are seen as the gold standard for tooth replacement. The upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) are capable of exerting incredible force, and a manmade durable root system is comparable to the natural structures in human teeth. Within 2-3 months, the metal post will fuse with the jawbone to create the most secure and realistic biocompatible interaction possible.
When it comes to placing more than one dental implants in Miami, FL, patients requiring an extensive dental makeover may qualify for the All-on-4 dental implants or Teeth-in-a-Day. Rather than replace each individual tooth by a metal screw and crown, the full set of upper or lower teeth can be restored with just 4 screws. The teeth are connected to maintain the integrity of the structure and bite.
Those who require a single or just a few replacements may opt for individual implantation, where each missing tooth is restored by an individual screw and crown. The procedure is typically performed during two or more appointments to accommodate the metal screw, the abutment (the metal portion of the implant that connects the screw to the crown), and crown placement. Patients are typically fitted for temporary crowns during this process.
Implanted artificial teeth have been studied for the past four decades and modern procedures boast nearly a 100% success rate.
Dental Care After Implants
After installation, implant care is simple. Brushing and flossing regularly remain important to patients’ oral hygiene routine. These simple routines will help ensure the health of the gums and bone as well as the surrounding teeth. However, the dental implants are entirely manmade and will not develop cavities. Once the procedure has been completed, the implants are fixed firmly into place and will not loosen or fall out. Patients should continue to schedule semi-annual dental examinations with Dr. Gaertner so he can provide dental care for the remaining natural teeth and gums and check the dental implants and other dental work. Gum disease and decay in the remaining teeth can still occur, so the implants must be given the same dental care as the natural teeth to ensure comprehensive oral health.
Frequently Asked Questions
When two adjacent teeth require replacement, can one tooth be restored by an implant with a bridge to restore the other?
This technique is not generally recommended because implants should not be attached to natural teeth. Dental Implants can be composed of one or more teeth, placed as a single unit or attached to another implant. Due to the strength of the metal anchor, multi-units are a viable option from a single surgical implant. The final option is for Dr. Gaertner to restore each tooth with a full implant setup, including two different synthetic root systems.
With significant bone loss due to dentures, are dental implants kendall still an option?
A bone graft or other preparations may be necessary, but implants can be an option for patients with changing upper and lower jaws due to bone loss. While the process tends to be more extensive than in a healthy, intact jawbone, modern techniques allow more flexibility for this type of treatment.
There are many indications that patients would have a better quality of life with the placement of dental implants. A patient’s dentures may begin to float due to structural deficits, leading to the excessive application of adhesives. Those with denture problems develop regular mouth sores, often eat only soft foods, and lose the ability to taste certain foods. The bite can be affected, and any remaining teeth will likely have shifted significantly. One sign of a shrinking jawbone due to a lack of root structures is when the lower and middle thirds of the face grow closer together, with the nose and chin positioned more closely together.
What happens when patients have been told they lack adequate bone for implant installation in the jawbone?
Advancements in implant dentistry have made it possible for most patients to undergo dental implant surgery. Techniques have improved and new options have been developed over the years to serve a variety of patients, even those who may not have been eligible for earlier implant surgeries. In difficult cases, additional procedures like bone grafting may be necessary. Existing teeth should also be in good health, receiving necessary dental work prior to dental implant surgery.
How can missing back teeth in the upper jaw lead to sinus issues?
Many people who are missing these teeth have experienced sinus growth due to the lack of structure in the area. The maxillary sinus continues to grow with the maturity of the skull, and with tooth loss, can impact area bone. Patients seeking to replace upper back teeth might need to undergo sinus elevation to create room for dental implants.
With total tooth loss, will every tooth need to be replaced with an implant?
Dental implants cost more than dentures, and many patients are concerned about both the financial and time commitment of the procedure. For patients requiring an entire set of upper and lower teeth, Florida dentist Dr. Gaertner can install implants using the Teeth-in-a-day or All-on-4 procedures. In these procedures, four screws can be used to secure an entire row of artificial teeth. These options are available only for certain cases. Other patients may also qualify for fewer implants, while still receiving durable and permanent tooth replacements. Dr. Gaertner will let patients know which treatments they qualify for after a consultation, which consists of an oral exam, X-rays, and sometimes CT scans.
How long is the healing time after dental implants are installed?
Preparation surgeries that occur prior to the dental implant procedure can prolong the recovery period, and this timeframe is dependent upon individual circumstances. Sinus lift surgery, also called sinus augmentation surgery, is a procedure that restores bone volume to the upper jaw near the molars. To accommodate the added bone, the dentist has to elevate the sinus membrane. Bone grafting is necessary when the jawbone is inadequate for implants to be secured and material must be added to the jaw. The bone may be grafted from the patient’s own body, or synthetic bone can be used.
After metal screws have been secured into the jawbone, patients may experience side effects for the next week. This can include pain and swelling, which both prescription and over-the-counter medications can help control. In can take a few months for complete osseointegration, which is when the bone fuses around the screw and creates the most secure artificial root structure possible.
In most cases, healing time from dental implants lasts between 3-6 months, though this is only a rough estimate. While there may be some restrictions during this period, the permanency of the new tooth or teeth is well worth any minor inconveniences.
About BlissDental in South Florida
Bliss Dental was established in 2008 by Belgian-born Dr. Andy Gaertner. As the son of a dentist, Dr. Gaertner’s passion for dentistry began at an early age. Following high school, Dr. Gaertner attended Nova Southeastern University in Florida where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, then graduated with his Doctorate of Dental Medicine (D.M.D) degree. Dr. Gaertner has practiced dentistry in both the United States and his home country of Belgium and now calls the Miami area home. Dr. Gaertner has expanded his expertise to include cosmetic and family dentistry.
To find out if implants in Miami are the best treatment solution for you, call 305-274-6500 to reach Dr. Gaertner and the staff at Bliss Dental in South Florida. The team strives to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and to take the time to inform each patient of all available options. Dr. Gaertner will create a detailed and customized treatment plan specific to an individual’s needs. A smile transformation not only improves oral health; it also restores one’s confidence. Call today to schedule an appointment.