What is a root?
In a plant, it’s what pulls in moisture and holds the plant firmly in the ground.
For people, our roots are our families and our communities. They give us strength and a solid foundation to build our lives as individuals.
For teeth, roots keep them securely in our mouths and provide the support for the crowns to do the things they need to do. That is, helping us eat.
If a plant is separated from its roots, it dies. If a person loses touch with his or her roots, he or she may lose sight of what is important in life.
If a tooth is missing a root, then it’s lost or missing from your mouth.
If you are missing teeth, we would like to talk about replacing them with dental implants. We offer them at our dentist office, Legacy Smiles, in Billings, MT.
A dental implant is an artificial root for a missing tooth.
You may be familiar with the basic anatomy of your teeth. Each tooth is divided into a crown and a root. The crowns are the parts you see when you smile at yourself in the mirror. The roots are the parts hidden under your gums.
The roots are anchored into the alveolar bones. Your roots and your alveolar bones share a mutually beneficial relationship.
Each root presses into the alveolar bone whenever you bite into something or you chew on food or gum. That pressure keeps the bone alive and strong. The pressure encourages new bone growth which keeps the alveolar bone healthy.
When the bone is healthy, it holds on tight to the roots of your teeth, so they don’t fall out of your mouth.
If we don’t keep our mouths healthy, tooth decay and gum disease can weaken our teeth or eat away at the supporting structures can keep our teeth in place.
Dental implants can fulfill the same role as your lost roots. They can be placed into your mouth, and they can support the replacements for the crowns of your missing teeth.
One Tooth, Two Teeth …
If you lose a single tooth, you may be more worried about the appearance of your smile more than the function of your mouth. But function is a great reason we would recommend replacing your lost tooth with an implant and a dental crown.
Without a root to encourage new growth, your alveolar bone will start losing bone density. As that loss gets worse, it could affect neighboring teeth as well.
The best way to reduce your risk of losing more teeth is by replacing the missing one with a dental implant. As long as you have enough remaining bone density to support an implant, we can attach a dental crown to the end.
This pair effectively replaces your entire tooth. The implant fills in the space below your gums, and your crown completes your smile and preserves your full chewing ability.
If you don’t have enough bone density to support an implant, we may be able to consider mini implants (which are about half the diameter of regular implants).
The point is that you don’t have to live with a gap in your mouth just because you’ve lost a single tooth.
Replacing Multiple Teeth
Let’s say that you have lost multiple teeth. Maybe you’ve even lost your entire top or bottom row of teeth.
Can dental implants help fix these problems? Yes, they certainly can.
Dental implants can function individually, like with the dental crown we mentioned about, or implants can work as a team.
If you lost three or four teeth, we could create a dental bridge or partial denture for you. We would place two or more dental implants or mini implants in you alveolar bone. Together these implants would support your bridge.
If you need to replace an entire arch (or both arches), we would recommend implant-supported dentures.
Depending on the health of your bone, we may recommend All-on-4 implants. This a system to strategically place four implants in a way that they can support a full set of dentures. Other people may need All-on-6, which uses six implants, or implant-retained dentures in order to provide the support to allow you to continue eating the foods that you enjoy.
Don’t Lose Hope If You Lose Teeth
At our dentist office in Billings, MT, we have seen how dental implants keep our patients’ mouths healthy and strong. If you would like to learn more about dental implants, call Legacy Smiles at (406) 794-3114 or fill out our online form to schedule an examination and consultation.