For most patients, tooth loss doesn’t just happen overnight. More often, it is the result of a planned extraction due to a failed root canal treatment (RCT), a severely fractured tooth, deep tooth decay, or extensive gum disease. Fortunately, losing a tooth no longer means that you are destined destructive dental procedures like bridges or with additional tooth loss and an eventual life of dentures.
With the widely accepted use of dental implants, you can replace your natural teeth with an alternative that is virtually flawless in both function and appearance.
Of course, the rate at which you choose to replace your missing teeth can influence your restorative options. Should you elect to replace a tooth as soon as it is extracted, the bone at that location is typically substantial enough to support one or more dental implant posts. For patients who have not had the opportunity to replace teeth in such a timely manner, extensive bone loss can be expected to occur, in which case your oral surgeon may need to perform additional surgical grafting procedures in order to achieve long-term implant success.
For example, patients who have worn dentures for many years will generally undergo a rapid and widespread deterioration of the jawbone. Rather than traditional implants, the All-on-4 procedure may be more appropriate. Even where the density and quality of the bone has deteriorated, four precisely angled implant posts can be permanently inserted to serve as anchors for a full arch of teeth.
Ideally, dental implants should be surgically placed immediately or very soon after a tooth has been removed. However, it is nice to know that implant dentistry can be successfully performed even when the natural teeth have been missing for many years. This knowledge is especially comforting for patients who may have chosen a temporary or less satisfying tooth replacement, but are interested in upgrading to a more predictable and life-like solution.
Learn all about your implant options by contacting our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Steven Koos DDS, MD, to schedule an appointment today.