Knoxville, TN, dentist explains how implants can be used to replace missing teeth

Replace Missing Teeth at Knoxville Smiles in Knoxville TN Area

When an adult loses a tooth, they typically want a fast and permanent solution. However, there are several tooth replacement options, including dentures, crown and bridge appliances, and dental implants, which all have individual benefits. Dr.. Michael Costa and Dr. Stephen Malone of Knoxville Smiles at Malone & Costa Dentistry in TN help their  patients understand the process and advantage of each option and make the right choice to fit their budget, lifestyle, and desired results. Drs. Malone and Costa receives many common questions, including:

Do I have to replace the missing tooth?

A missing tooth can make a person feel self-conscious or embarrassed. However, there is more to be concerned about than how you look. The gap in your smile can damage a person’s oral health and overall wellness, as well. When a tooth is missing, the teeth that remain can shift, creating pockets that trap food particles and bacteria, which can cause tooth decay or gum disease. Additionally, a tooth’s root provides stimulation to the jawbone. Without the root, the bone will lose density, which can cause the facial structure to droop.

What options are available to replace my missing tooth?

There are several options to replace your missing tooth or teeth.

  • Crown and bridge appliances: This common replacement option includes a crown that is attached to the two teeth on each side of the gap. Once fitted, the crowns will “bridge” the gap.
  • Dentures: Dentures are customized false teeth that can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or an entire set of teeth. Dentures can snap into place using a metal appliance or can use a paste or gel to adhere to the gums.
  • Dental implants: A dental implant replaces the root of the tooth with a small metal rod that is inserted through the gum into the jawbone. The bone heals around the implant, and then a dental crown is attached to the post to give the appearance and function of an original tooth. 

What is the benefit to dental implants?

There are several advantages of dental implants.

  • Appearance:  The dental crown that attaches to the artificial tooth root is custom made, which allows the dentist to create an artificial tooth that blends well with the remaining natural teeth.  Friends, family, and colleagues will never know that the tooth is not an original.    
  • Function: A dental implant and crown functions, exactly like your natural teeth. Unlike other options, implants do not need to be removed at night. Further, patients can eat their favorite foods, speak clearly, and smile confidently.
  • Longevity: The dental implant process does take several months because the jaw and mouth take some time to heal. However, once the process is complete, the implant stays in place for 20 years or more.  To care for a dental implant, patients should brush, floss, and make sure they receive regular checkups with their dentist.

If you are considering your tooth replacement options, contact Knoxville Smiles at Malone & Costa Dentistry at (865) 426-1776. Dr. Costa or Dr. Malone will talk with you about your dental health, lifestyle, timeline, and budget to determine if implants are the best choice for your unique situation.

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