Last year I lost both of my upper front teeth playing hockey. Yes I know, I should’ve been wearing my guard, and believe me I’ll never forget it again! Right now I’m wearing a flipper to fill that space while I’m healing. I’m leaning toward getting implants there, but I’m kind of worried about how they’re going to look. It seems like the metal of the implant will show near the gum line, maybe? Does this happen?
First off, sorry about your accident! The flipper is a great way to go as a temporary solution. Though, obviously, you’ll want a long-term solution. The great news is you picked the right one! Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option around.
Bone And Healing
It’s good that you’ve had some time for the sockets to heal and the bone to fill in naturally. The longer it goes without anything there, however, you run the risk of bone atrophy, where it starts to shrink away. Generally, there needs to be a minimum of one millimeter of bone around a dental implant. More is needed in certain situations, such as if the implant is to be situated in proximity to another implant or a natural tooth. More is needed in many anterior (near the front) cases as well. Some cases require the grafting of bone where there is not enough. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you are a candidate for implants there or not.
Will The Metal Show By My Gums?
If you are a candidate, you’ll be delighted to know that anterior implants are among the most beautiful ways to restore missing teeth. They will be designed to appear to emerge from the gingiva (gums) in a most natural manner: assuring they are properly placed and cared for, and there will be no metal showing at or around the gums.
Because it is an anterior tooth, however, you want to make certain the dentist has post-doctoral cosmetic dentistry training. This way you will have a beautiful, natural-looking result. Once you have narrowed down a few qualified dentists who place dental implants, then look at their cosmetic skills. The top-of-the-line cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited, so if you find someone with post-doctoral training in dental implants that is also AACD accredited, you will have hit the jackpot.
What if I don’t have enough bone?
It is possible that in the time you are in your dental flipper too much bone will be lost. The good news is that does not mean that you are not a candidate for dental implants. You will just need one additional procedure done beforehand. Bone grafting can build back up the bone necessary to properly secure an implant.
If you decide you do not want to go that route, then your next best option will be to get a dental bridge. This requires two dental crowns be placed on the adjacent teeth as an anchor for the false tooth that will be suspended between them.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.