Missing teeth not only can negatively impact your desire to engage with others, but it can also affect your everyday functioning, like speaking and eating. However, you don’t have to live with a gapped smile! Dental implants are considered the gold standard of tooth replacement options, offering unparalleled stability and longevity. But if you have had an incomplete set of teeth for a while, can you still be a candidate for dental implants? Here’s what to know about how long you can wait before getting dental implants.
The Ideal Time Frame to Restore a Smile with Dental Implants
If you have one or more missing pearly whites, you are aware of how it can drastically change your life. Your self-esteem can take a hit and it’s hard to enjoy your favorite foods. For this reason, most people take steps right away to complete their smile with a tooth loss solution.
Once you have gaps in your mouth, it’s best to begin the process of dental implants very soon afterward. Some dental professionals suggest no more than 10 weeks. This is because your mouth has not yet experienced the negative impacts that missing teeth can have on your oral health. The longer you wait, you increase the chances of experiencing the complications that can happen from having an incomplete set of pearly whites. As a result, it makes it much more difficult to place dental implants.
How Do Missing Teeth Impact Your Mouth?
As stated above, you will want to visit your dentist to begin the dental process as soon as possible if you have one or more teeth removed or missing. This is because having a full set of pearly whites benefits your oral health tremendously and once that is gone, your smile begins to suffer, making it more difficult to receive dental implants. These complications include:
- Deterioration of the jawbone: Since your jaw is no longer experiencing stimulation in all areas of the mouth, it can begin to deteriorate. Your jawbone needs to be strong for dental implants to fully integrate with it.
- Moving teeth: The surrounding teeth near the gap will begin to naturally move into the open space, causing your smile to become misaligned. This will make it more difficult to place the implants.
- Sinus movement: This process is called pneumatization and involves your sinuses moving from the upper jaw area to other areas of your mouth, making dental implant placement more complicated.
Options if You Have Passed the Ideal Time Frame
While replacing teeth right away with dental implants is ideal, there is good news if you have had a gapped smile for a while. Your dentist can give you a full examination and see if your mouth is in good condition for implants. If your missing teeth have caused some issues that would make it more difficult to place a restoration, they can suggest some options to get your oral health ready. For example, you can undergo bone grafting to strengthen your jaw so your dental implants can firmly attach. Or, if your teeth have shifted, your dentist may suggest orthodontics to align your smile for successful implant placement.
With professional dental guidance, a new, beautiful smile with dental implants can still be an option for you!
About the Author
Dr. Donna Franklin-Pitts and her team at Franklin Dental Center keep the smiles of Tyler healthy and whole! She attended dental school at Howard University in Washington D.C. and is an active member of several associations, including the American Dental Association. With a focus on family-friendly care, she provides a full range of services, including restorative options like dental implants. To schedule a consultation, contact her through her website or call (903) 730-6314.