In addition to triggering oral health issues, missing teeth can be an overwhelming source of frustration and discomfort. While solutions like traditional dentures can fill in the gaps, they can also easily shift out of place when you are chewing or speaking. Traditional dental bridges cannot move, but they also cannot stop the bone atrophy that occurs following tooth loss.
Dr. Mark Emerson in San Diego, CA, provides the communities of Clairemont and Pacific Beach with dental implants, an advanced solution that can restore the functionality, comfort, and health of your smile. These prosthetic tooth roots not only keep your dentures and other restorations firmly in place at all times, but also prevent jaw atrophy. During a consultation at his modern office, Dr. Emerson can determine if this advanced solution is right for you.
How Implants Work
Many patients throughout Clairemont and Greater San Diego turn to dental implants because they:
- Allow you to eat any foods you choose. Traditional denture wearers are often limited to eating only very soft foods or foods that have been cut into small pieces. Implant-supported dentures anchor your dentures directly to your jaw, allowing you to eat all the chewy, sticky, or crunchy foods you enjoy.
- Give you the power to enunciate clearly. An unstable restoration makes it difficult to speak clearly, which can make you feel self-conscious. When your restorations are attached to your jawbone, you can speak with absolute clarity.
- Help you retain bone tissue. Your jaw will begin to shrink and change shape when there are no tooth roots to stimulate the bone tissue. This can eventually result in an aged and sunken appearance, making it necessary to have dentures adjusted on a regular basis. Dental implants can actually provide the stimulation necessary to retain bone tissue in the jaw, helping you maintain your features and minimizing the number of adjustments your dentures require.
These prosthetic tooth roots not only keep your dentures and other restorations firmly in place at all times, but also prevent jaw atrophy.
Do I Qualify?
Not every patient who is missing teeth qualifies for dental implants. Candidacy requirements include:
- Jawbone Density: Implants require a certain amount of bone tissue for support. If you have experienced bone atrophy, you may require a bone grafting procedure to encourage bone growth and create a stable base for implants.
- Good General Health: Implant placement requires minor surgery, so you must be able to safely undergo the procedure. If you are diabetic, the condition must be controlled before you can receive implants.
- No Smoking: Nicotine will interfere with your body's ability to heal. If you want implants, plan to quit smoking before surgery and make every effort to break the habit permanently in order to experience maximum benefits of the treatment.
Placing dental implants requires two minor surgeries with about three to six months of healing time in between. During the first, the implants will be strategically placed in the jawbone. Over the coming months, the implants will become integrated with the jaw tissue. Once Dr. Emerson confirms that this process is complete, you will undergo a second procedure in which abutments (connecting devices) will be placed on top of the implants. These will join your restorations to the implants. Once the gums have healed, usually within about two weeks, we can begin crafting your restorations.