Used to be that if you wanted to replace a missing tooth, we would recommend a bridge. This is a small appliance (we call them “appliances” or “prostheses”) that fits over the two remaining teeth that used to be next to your missing tooth. But before we can place this, we must prepare (grind down) the two teeth that we will use to cement the bridge onto. None of us like to do this, including me. Because none of us wants to grind on two teeth that are otherwise healthy, to replace one missing tooth. Are you with me so far?
So now comes implants. These are root-sized cylinders of Titanium alloy. They’ve been with us for over 50 years. The materials and techniques have gotten better over that time, and continue to improve. Statistics for the kinds of implants we generally use are that they are retained without incident in 99% of us for well over 5 years. Like woodworking, we measure the size of the space where the missing tooth used to be. We then drill a hole where your tooth is missing. We then screw in the implant, which is sized to the drill. Then we cover the implant with a healing cap and wait 3 months for the bone to heal to the implant cylinder. Then we unscrew the healing cap, screw a post in its place, then make and cement a crown to the post. Voila! New tooth.
The most painful part of the implant procedure is paying for it. And we are working on getting your health plan to pay for them. So if you’ve got missing teeth and want to replace them, call us. Your implant consultation is free At Nob Hill Dental Center.