Dental Implants

Unfortunately, tooth loss in adulthood no longer means excitement and a few bucks under your pillow from the beloved tooth fairy. In fact, tooth loss in adults can significantly impact both one’s oral health and self-confidence. Fortunately, patients in the Spokane area don’t have to allow their missing teeth to eat away at their confidence and dental health. At Spokane Dental, we use advanced dental implant technology and a range of tooth replacement options that will restore not only the functionality, but the aesthetics of your smile.

Understanding Dental Implants

Tooth loss can occur due to various reasons such as gum disease, tooth decay, aging, or simply from accidents! We offer a multitude of solutions for missing teeth, but dental implants are the most common solution as they are the most advanced and effective tooth replacement option available today. Dental implants are created and designed to mimic the appearance and functionality of a natural tooth, so you can go on living your life uninterrupted and with confidence. Unlike some solutions for missing teeth, dental implants are anchored into the jawbone with help to provide exceptional stability and durability. Not to mention, when properly cared for, dental implants are often able to last a lifetime!

The Dental Implant Process

Depending on each individual, there are two options when getting a dental implant. Traditionally, most patients have to wait a few months after their tooth loss before receiving an implant to allow for the gums and bones to settle. However, with modern advancements in technology, it is now an option for patients in some cases to receive ‘Immediate Load Implants’, eliminating the waiting period traditionally experienced. Our team works with each of our patients to weigh the pros and cons and determine if immediate or delayed implants are best for your situation.

If you are receiving a traditional, delayed implant, you can expect the process to follow a general sequence of steps:

  1. Initial Consultation – This first visit is used mainly for the dentist to evaluate a patient’s overall oral health, take x-rays or or CT scans if needed to determine if the jawbone is suitable for dental implants, and to discuss each patient’s specific needs and goals. This is the stage where it is determined whether or not a bone graft is needed. A bone graft procedure is a necessary step in the dental implant process when the jawbone does not have the strength to support an implant, and it involves introducing grafting material to the jawbone in order to stimulate growth of new bone on the jaw.
  2. Implant Placement – The dental implant, which is essentially a small titanium post, is placed into the jawbone. The implant begins fusing with the jawbone over time, ensuring a strong and stable foundation for the replacement tooth.
  3. Healing Period – The implant typically takes a few months to integrate with the jawbone. Throughout this healing phase, it is possible a temporary bridge or crown may be placed in order to restore the function and appearance of the missing tooth until the tooth has fully integrated.
  4. Restoration Placement – Once the dental implant has successfully integrated with the jawbone, an abutment (a piece that connects the implant and the restorative piece) is attached to the implant. Lastly, a custom-made bridge or dental brown is secured to the abutment, replacing the temporary restorative piece, and completing the dental implant process.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Long lasting solution
  • Work like natural teeth
  • Enhanced aesthetics
  • Improved oral health
  • Clear speech
  • Chewing functionality

Additional Tooth Replacement Options

Dental Bridges (Fixed Prosthetics)

When a tooth is missing or extracted, another option to replace the missing tooth is with a dental bridge, which replaces a missing tooth with an artificial one, quite literally ‘bridging’ the gap where there was a missing tooth. Traditional dental bridges are what we call ‘tooth supported’, meaning they utilize the two healthy, natural teeth on either side of the gap. Dental crowns are placed on the two teeth adjacent to the gap to hold the bridge in place, and an artificial tooth called a pontic is fused between them.

Dentures (Removable Prosthetics)

There are two types of dentures that can be considered as a solution for missing teeth; full dentures, and partial dentures. When all teeth need to be replaced at one time, full dentures that span from one side of your mouth to the other, replacing all of the missing teeth with one single prosthesis can be an economical and fairly simple option. Partial dentures are an option when an individual still has multiple healthy, natural teeth. A partial denture only replaces the missing teeth, while clipping into place around the remaining natural teeth. This solution however, does come with its downfalls. Dentures do not solve the ever prevalent issue of jaw deterioration, they may slip and need frequent repositioning, and they require daily cleaning and care.

Choosing the Right Option for You

When suffering from tooth loss, whether it be one tooth or multiple teeth that are missing, looking into solutions and treatment can be overwhelming. The abundance of options, the technical terminology, the concern for budget in the back of your mind, it’s easy to succumb to the stress and end up even more unsure of what steps to take than you were to start off with. This is where we come in! It’s important to consult with your dentist on deciding which option is right for you. Here at Spokane Dental, Dr. Jonathan Smith and the rest of our team will ensure your comfort, input, and preferences are considered in your treatment plan, while also evaluating your oral health to accurately advise you on which solution may be most suitable for you.

Missing Teeth Solutions at Your Spokane Dentist

At Spokane Dental, our team of experts provides the best dental care in Spokane and the surrounding area. We know how detrimental missing teeth can be to a person’s dental health and mental health, but we’re here to help. Regaining your confidence with a healthy, happy smile is possible with dental implants and restorative solutions at Spokane Dental. Give us a call at (509)822-5614 or schedule a consultation today to learn more and get your smile back!