Missing teeth can wreck your smile and hurt your oral health. Dental implants are a permanent way to replace missing teeth, create a lovely smile, and prevent a host of dental problems that result from teeth gone AWOL.

The dentists at Bell Family Dental in Bayside, NY, are experts in replacing missing teeth with dental implants. Here’s everything you need to know about the procedure.

How missing teeth can hurt your oral health

Here’s a short anatomy lesson about teeth.

Teeth consist of two parts.

  • The crown, the visible section above your gum line that gives your teeth structure and stability.
  • The root below your gum line, which anchors the crown and stimulates bone growth, which keeps your jaw healthy.

The loss of even one tooth affects the stability and strength of your other teeth. Tooth loss also increases your risk of other dental issues, including:

  • Shifting teeth
  • Bite changes
  • Gum disease
  • Difficulty speaking and chewing
  • Uneven wear on remaining teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, like headaches and jaw pain

Missing teeth can also cause your jaw to deteriorate because of bone loss. This deterioration can change the way your face looks.

Dental implants help protect your oral health

In the past, bridges or dentures were the most popular replacements for missing teeth. However, these removable appliances only replaced the visible portion of your missing teeth. An implant restores the entire tooth, including the root below your gum line.

Each dental implant is composed of:

  • Implant, the surgical-grade metal post anchored in your jawbone
  • Abutment, the tiny connector that attaches a crown to the implant
  • Crown, the custom-made prosthetic tooth that rests above the gum line

Dental implants, which last a lifetime, require a few appointments spaced over several months.

Everything you need to know about the dental implant procedure

First, we perform a comprehensive oral exam that includes taking X-rays, evaluating your jawbone health, reviewing your dental and medical history, and reviewing your aesthetic goals.

If you and your dentist decide implants are right for you, we place the implant into your jawbone, which grows around the appliance. It’s a minimally-invasive oral procedure performed under a variety of numbing options that make the procedure painless. You may feel some pressure or pushing during the implantation.

After your procedure, you may experience mild soreness and swelling. We provide detailed instructions that will foster healing and minimize discomfort. It usually takes three to six months for your jawbone to fuse around your implant. At this point, we attach the abutment and fix your new crown in place.

The pros of dental implants

About 3 million Americans have opted for dental implants. Here’s why. Dental implants:

  • Look, feel, and function like natural teeth
  • Provide a permanent fit that doesn’t move or click when you eat, talk, or laugh
  • Help retain your natural face shape
  • Stimulate jawbone growth and prevent deterioration

Dental implants are easy to maintain. Just brush and floss them regularly, as you would care for natural teeth. We recommend professional cleanings twice a year.

If you’d like to learn more about dental implants, call us for an appointment at (718) 224-4646 or use our online scheduling tool.

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