In the not-so-recent past, if you were missing a tooth, your replacement options were limited to having other teeth drilled in order to place a fixed dental bridge or to have the missing teeth replaced with a removable prosthesis (a denture). Thanks to advances in technology and in our understanding of how teeth, bones and gums relate to each other, dental implants have become the premiere option for replacing missing teeth. At Maidu Dental, our Oral Surgeon places dental implants and Dr. Luminita Markham restores them for comprehensive, convenient care.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implant technology has its roots in the same concepts that orthopedic surgeons have been using for decades with hip replacements. When a tooth is lost, a small, screw-like piece of titanium is surgically placed into the area of the missing tooth. Oftentimes, the implant placement procedure takes less time in the chair to complete than it would take to prepare a traditional crown! After a few months of healing called osseointegration, Dr. Markham will make a dental crown to be placed upon the implant and your missing tooth will now be replaced.
Obviously if the tooth is in the front of your mouth, Dr. Markham will talk to you about temporary options while your implant heals. We do not expect you to walk around with a missing front tooth!
Multiple Dental Implants
Sometimes a person is missing more than one tooth and a single implant would not entirely close the missing space. In cases such as these, we are able to make implant bridges, whereby multiple implants are placed in the edentulous (empty) area and implants are placed as anchors to support a fixed bridge. This treatment is conceptually the same as having a traditional dental bridge. The difference, however, is that the implants serve as anchors instead of your natural teeth.
Additionally, a patient may be missing two teeth in different places. In this case, two dental implants could be placed in these sporadic locations to fully restore the patient’s smile and chewing function.
What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Dental implants have two major advantages. First, your natural adjacent teeth are not affected. Practically speaking, this means that if a dental implant were to fail, the teeth next to the implant would remain intact. However, failures are rare, as implants have a 95 percent success rate.
Contrast this situation to a fixed dental bridge. With a fixed dental bridge, it is necessary to prepare (to drill) one or more teeth in front of the space and behind the space. Therefore, if any of the anchor teeth for the bridge were to have a problem (decay, bone loss over many years, etc.), then you would have to replace the entire bridge.
The second advantage of dental implants is longevity. Dental implants are not subject to decay. Therefore, when an implant and crown are properly performed, these restorations can last for decades. Contrast this timeframe with dental bridges. Like dental crowns, bridges usually last around five to 15 years before they eventually need to be replaced.
Dr. Luminita Markham’s Advanced Training
Patients with dental implants report fewer problems compared to patients with traditional bridges. However, from the dental perspective, “getting it right” with dental implants can be more challenging for the dentist. Fortunately, Dr. Luminita Markham has extensive experience with restoring dental implants. She has received advanced training that focuses specifically on these challenges – including coursework at the prestigious Pankey Institute and Spear Educational Institute. Not every dentist has the same training as Dr. Markham. This factor is a critical one to consider when you are selecting a dentist for your dental implant treatment.
Learn More about Dental Implants
If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants may be the solution for you. To schedule a consultation at our Auburn, CA practice, contact us online anytime or call our office at (530) 823-8771.