It’s all too easy to lose a tooth. A car or sports accident can knock one out. No one is born with a perfect set of teeth, so brushing and flossing them is challenging. Periodontal or gum infection does not initially cause pain, so you might not realize how serious it is until the gums bleed.
If you’re fortunate enough to have just one or two teeth missing (or in need of extraction), you should not put off considering a replacement. The mouth responds to a gap in the teeth alignment by having those on either side lean towards the space, resulting in the loosening of their own roots and making them in danger of falling out, as well. A domino effect results, as other teeth become misaligned and loose. If the initial loss of teeth is not quickly addressed, you might find yourself among the quarter of Americans 74 or older who no longer have any left.
Fortunately, a potentially permanent solution, with proper care, is a dental implant for each lost tooth. Los Angeles dentist, Dr. Shervin Louie is one of the most highly-regarded implant specialists in Southern California. The first step is a thorough exam that includes a low-radiation digital x-ray to check the underlying jawbone to be sure it is strong enough to hold the implants in place (if it is inadequate, bone grafts can build it up).
Other risks need to be considered, such as whether there is sufficient gum around the empty socket and whether the patient has diabetes or osteoporosis, heart disease, or autoimmune disorders. If some teeth have been ground down during sleep (due to an unconscious tension called bruxism), you will be provided with a custom night guard to wear to prevent this and protect the implants.
If conditions are positive for dental implants, the first step is to insert the implant, a titanium screw, into each empty socket. An impression is taken to send to a top dental lab, which will work with our practice to create the tooth-like dental crowns in the precise shade to match the neighboring teeth. After the bone integrates around the implants for a few months, they will be attached to the crowns, which will be adjusted for a comfortable fit.
In addition to restoring the ability to chew and speak properly, dental implants will help support full lips (which otherwise will appear too thin) and the cheeks (so they don’t look hollow).
If you have lost even one tooth, you should have a full consultation with Dr. Louie as soon as possible about the best options for keeping your appearance and oral health in their optimum condition.