No two smiles are alike, but everyone should strive for the best oral health, function and appearance possible. That includes closing any gaps in your smile. St. Louis dentist, Dr. John Monaco, offers outstanding tooth replacements called dental implants. Inserted into the jaw bone for optimal strength and function, these realistic artificial teeth last and last, and they avoid the harm missing teeth cause. Could dental implants be right for you?
What's a missing tooth or two?
Tooth loss from gum disease and decay impacts approximately 120 million Americans, says the American College of Prosthodontists. Besides changing personal appearance and self-confidence, smile gaps lead to gum and bone recession, poor oral function and an aged facial appearance. If you have missing teeth, you know the problems very well.
What's the alternative?
Dental implants are today's best solution for tooth loss. Instead of simply setting on gum tissue and bone as conventional bridges and dentures do, dental implants reside in the jaw, exercising the bone and keeping it strong.
To determine if you're a candidate for this outstanding tooth replacement, Dr. Monaco does a complete oral examination, X-rays. He wants to see if your oral health is good and if your jaw bone is dense enough to accept the dental implant. If it is, he'll perform the treatment right in his office using simple local anesthetic.
How does an implant work?
The typical single-tooth implant has three parts:
- A titanium implant screw or cylinder
- A metal alloy abutment which extends above the gums
- A lifelike porcelain crown which the dentist bonds to the abutment to restore the dental implant
Inserted through a small hole created in the jaw, the implant bonds with the bone. How does this happen? The secret is a process called osseointegration. Over several weeks to months of healing, the implant and bone become virtually inseparable. After the abutment and crown are attached, osseointegration continues as the patient bites and chews on the new tooth.
Does an implant last?
Whether you receive one dental implant or several to support a denture or bridge, expect the device to stay in place for decades. However, you must practice diligent oral hygiene:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes
- Floss daily
- Get six-month check-ups and hygienic cleanings with Dr. Monaco
Good hygiene avoids plaque and tartar build-up. This is important because, while dental implants cannot decay, the surrounding gum tissue and bone could degrade when oral bacteria proliferate. The resulting infection, peri-implantitis, resembles advanced gum disease. It can loosen dental implants.
No more gaps?
It's possible with state-of-the-art dental implants from St Louis' own Dr. John Monaco. Please contact Dr. Monaco's office to arrange your consultation: (314) 892-5343.