Welcome to all of our regular readers and those readers who are new to us today. This blog is a long-standing one in which Dr. Scharf educates his patients and his readers, whether new or old in either category. Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who enjoys keeping his followers up-to-date on new technology and further research into the deep dark world of gum disease and how it can influence the lives of those afflicted with it. Today, we begin a new article series on the process of dental implant treatment in which we hope to familiarize you with incredible more modern technology for the permanent replacement of missing teeth. So, without further ado, let’s get started on this journey down the road leading to the process of dental implant treatment.
What Are Dental Implants?
Before we can delve very deeply into this topic, we must first get some basic information out front. You may wonder what exactly a dental implant IS? A dental implant is a newer and preferred way to replace missing teeth that is available to us today. As people live their lives, sometimes situations occur, i.e., accidents, decayed teeth, weakened or loosened teeth, which result in some the loss of teeth, either singly or in multiples.
When teeth are missing, two things are essential to understanding:
First, the mouth was designed to have a specific number of teeth, all of which have a particular function and which are placed in the appropriate sequence on the upper and lower plates to perform those functions efficiently. When you lose teeth, spaces occur in the plate structure which results in areas not only allow the trapping of food but also the openness changes the way the chewing mechanism takes place.
The second thing essential to understand is that, as mentioned above, each tooth has an assigned function in the chewing process which also relates to the digestive processing of food. Some teeth are for biting, some for cutting and some for mashing and chewing, and when the structure of both the lower as well as the upper plates are intact, every tooth does its job to efficiently break up food in preparation for its journey through the digestive tract.
By understanding these two principles, it follows that if the initially designed tooth configuration and chewing mechanism are changed or interrupted, the food, inadequately prepared, travels through the gastric system in a form not intended, a situation which could cause issues as we age.
When teeth are missing, and this chewing mechanism changed, there are several options available to fill in the gaps (pun intended). Those options include bridges (both removable as well as fixed), dentures and dental implants. Here are the negatives of the alternatives:
The bridges can erode adjacent teeth to which they have been affixed, causing loosening and additional eventual loss.
Dentures can be challenging to adjust to, interfere with eating and enjoying some foods and may need adjustments or replacement periodically.
Dental implants are the closest permanent fix for missing teeth which our current technology can provide. Recent advancements make this option even more attractive in that completion occurs within hours instead of weeks or months.
Next time, we’ll talk about how dental implants work. In the meantime, we’d like to encourage you not to ignore those missing teeth. Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island, and in the role, he can identify and treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel, as well as guide you toward your best options for replacement of missing teeth. Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him explain the many ways he can help you.