Here at the practice of Dr. Sonny Kim, we’re happy to answer any and all questions for patients like you with missing teeth. But we’ve noticed that many of our patients are asking the same questions over and over. We’ve compiled the more common ones we’ve heard, and had our team answer them here for your convenience. Don’t see your question here? Feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to take your question.
Unfortunately, no. Children and young teens are not recommended for implants because their bodies, jawbone, and teeth are still in development. As they continue to grow, installing a dental implant could be painful or hinder their development. Older teens may qualify, with the consensus of Dr. Kim or their dentist.
If your child does lose an adult tooth, contact your child’s pediatric dentist, or consult with Dr. Sonny Kim to see if we can find a better solution that won’t interfere with your child’s growth.
The dental implant process is typically divided into three steps, for each of the three pieces of the dental implant. The fixture is the first to be embedded, and it takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the process of osseointegration to complete before the next piece. During this time between pieces, you don’t need to stay in bed; you can freely go about your normal routine, and this includes any travel plans you have. Be sure to let us know when you’ll be out of town, so that we can schedule your appointments accordingly.
Tooth loss can be devastating on your oral health if neglected for a long time. Some patients may assume that the area will heal on it’s own, but that is rarely the case. Most often, the jawbone depletes as a result of the tooth loss, and this puts further strain on your other teeth. This could cause them to shift, break, or even fall out (leading to even more tooth loss). In addition, if you lost the tooth as a result of decay or gum disease, the bacteria that caused these conditions can worsen your oral health.
Facial-wise, excessive tooth loss can lead to wrinkling, a hollowing of the cheeks, and lines across the face. This can make you appear older than you actually are, and you may feel self-conscious about your appearance.
Some patients may assume that dental implants are simply made of metal. In actuality, they are made of titanium, a biocompatible alloy that is functional with human bone and tissues. It’s also why they use this material in medical devices too. The crown that caps the dental implant is made of porcelain or other ceramic, painted and shaped to mimic a real tooth. For a lot of our patients, their own friends and family have had trouble telling the difference between their real teeth and the dental implant.
If you lost a tooth due to cavities or gum disease, it’s more prudent to clean up those trouble spots before you move on with dental implants. This way, you’re giving your dental implant the best chance of success. At the same time, the jawbone can benefit from a dental implant, as the process of osseointegration can help the jawbone to recover. However, additional supplemental treatments may be needed to help gum tissue recover.