Dental Implants in Eagle River AK
When patients come to our office looking for a solution to a missing tooth, they are often concerned about the aesthetic problem of a gap in their smile. We are, of course, interested in improving the aesthetics of your smile as well, but from our standpoint, missing teeth are much more than a cosmetic concern.
Why Missing Teeth Should Be Replaced
Once you lose a tooth, a series of unwanted changes around that space and in the bone underneath begins. It is important to replace a missing tooth as soon as possible because it only becomes more challenging (and expensive) to replace the teeth as time passes.
The roots of your teeth and the bone beneath your gums have an interesting mutual relationship. The bone serves to hold your teeth in place, and the roots stimulate the bone to constantly renew itself. When you lose a tooth, the root is no longer there to stimulate bone growth, and this process comes to a halt.
Within the first year after you lose a tooth, you’ll lose approximately 25% of the height and 40% of the width of the bone that used to hold the tooth. Bone loss will continue gradually past that point. This could mean more missing teeth in the future and even changes to the shape of your face.
Additionally, the teeth around the space left by the missing tooth can shift and create other problems, including issues with your bite that can lead to excessive wear and grinding issues.
Why Dental Implants?
In the past, we dealt with missing teeth by placing a bridge or a partial denture. While these options effectively filled the space, they can’t do anything to prevent bone loss. Placing a bridge also usually requires altering healthy teeth to create an anchor, which could cause problems for those teeth in the future.
Today, we have a better option. A dental implant is a permanent solution that looks, functions, and feels like a natural tooth.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
A dental implant replaces the missing tooth root with a small biocompatible titanium post, which is surgically placed in your jaw. Over time, the bone and the implant integrate. This integration creates a strong and stable base to which we can attach a dental restoration.
Dental implants are a healthy alternative to bridges and dentures because the new “root” in your jaw will prevent the bone from deteriorating. Plus, an implant can be placed without altering the adjacent teeth.
How Our Technology Helps Us Place Implants
In our office, we place implants with computer-guided precision. We use the information obtained from a 3-D digital x-ray of your jaw and integrate this with information from our CEREC. We actually design your new tooth right here in our Eagle River dental office using our CEREC system and then merge the information into the 3-D x-ray of your teeth, jaw, and sinuses to determine the absolute best position for your implant to support your new tooth and avoid complications.
In some cases, an implant is desired but there is no longer enough bone for proper support. In this situation, we can use a bone graft. If Dr. Woodring determines that a bone graft is necessary, we will discuss the available options with you. We can also use a special material called advanced platelet rich fibrin to accelerate healing in the case of a bone graft. This allows your implant to be placed sooner so that you can get back to enjoying a whole and healthy smile.
Call Us for a Consultation
We’re sure you probably have plenty of questions, and we’d love to meet with you and answer them so that you can make an informed decision about your dental health.