You recently had to get one of your front teeth extracted due to severe decay. Now there’s this giant gap in your smile that makes you incredibly self-conscious. You’re afraid to laugh, talk, or even grin in front of other people for fear of them judging you for your missing tooth. You may have heard about dental implants as a method of replacing lost teeth, but can they be used to replace front teeth? keep reading below to find out.
But First, What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a small, screw-shaped titanium post that is surgically placed into your jawbone to mimic the structure of your lost tooth’s root. Dental implants are the only currently available solution to tooth loss that replaces the entire structure of the tooth from the root up. In fact, the post itself actually fuses with your jawbone until it feels like it’s part of your own anatomy. Because of this, implants have the potential to last for several decades, if not a lifetime.
Can Dental Implants Replace Front Teeth?
Absolutely! Dental implants can be used to replace a missing tooth no matter where in the mouth it was located. In most cases, implants are used to replace molars (teeth in the back of the mouth) because they suffer more wear and tear through the forces of chewing, and are thus more likely to suffer decay that results in their needing to be extracted. However, they can still be placed in the front of the mouth.
The reason that dental implants work for front teeth is because they are restored with a lifelike dental crown. A crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over your implant to give it the appearance of being a natural tooth. Your dentist most likely uses porcelain to craft your crown, which is popular due to its uncanny ability to mimic tooth enamel and withstand the daily pressures of biting and chewing. Once your implant has been restored with a custom-made dental crown, no one should even be able to tell it’s not your “real” tooth!
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Generally, in order to be a candidate for dental implants, you must have adequate oral and overall health. It helps to avoid smoking, brush and floss regularly, and attend dental checkups at least twice a year. You must also have enough jawbone mass to support implants, or at least be willing to undergo a bone graft to strengthen the bone.
Ultimately, the only one who can determine whether dental implants are right for you is your dentist. If you have a noticeable gap in your grin, give your dentist a call and ask about implants. It could be just the thing your smile needs!
About the Author
Dr. Neely Davis Thornton is a dentist in Marietta, GA who received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 2006. As a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, she is well-qualified to both place and restore dental implants to give you a complete smile. To find out whether dental implants are the right treatment for your smile, contact Dr. Thornton at (770) 988-4936.