Recent advancements in technology have made dental implant treatment easier and better than ever before! Patients can enjoy life without worrying about their teeth. Denture wearers no longer have to deal with teeth that might loosen or fall out when they talk, laugh, or eat. Patients with single missing teeth no longer have to cut down adjacent teeth for fixed bridges. Dental implants are the answer.
Premature Aging with Tooth Loss
If you are missing one or all of your teeth, dental implants are a wonderful replacement option
A dental implant is used to replace an entire tooth or a row of teeth. The loss of a single tooth might not seem like a big deal to you, especially if it’s not visible, but it can affect your overall oral health if you don’t take care of it. In addition, a missing tooth can cause premature aging. When you lose a tooth, that area of your jaw is no longer stimulated from chewing. Over time, lack of stimulation causes your jawbone and facial features to shrink, your jawline to weaken, and premature aging to begin.
How do dental implants work?
A dental implant functions, and looks, just like a normal tooth. It is a biocompatible titanium post that is surgically placed in the jawbone and designed to fit in with the rest of your teeth. The post will fuse, or osseointegrate with the bone, giving it a sturdy foundation. Once your implant heals and is secure in your jawbone, our staff will then add the crown to the foundation. This creates a natural looking and functioning tooth replacement. Healing takes a different amount of time for each person and it is not uncommon for the process to take a few months. Once the crown has been placed you’ll feel like the implant is one of your natural teeth and will be able to eat, smile, talk and do everything else you are accustomed to doing. If time is of concern, depending on the patient, we are able to do a bone graft with an immediate placement of the implant.
Categories of Dental Implants
Single implants: Single tooth implants are a great option to replace a missing tooth. By placing a single tooth implant the patient can have a permanent replacement tooth without filing the adjacent teeth down for fixed bridge work. Single tooth implants look, feel and function like natural teeth.
Implant-supported bridges: An implant-supported bridge is similar to a regular bridge but is instead supported by implants and not by natural teeth. When a patient is missing multiple adjacent teeth, two implants can be used to anchor a fixed bridge that will replace the span of missing teeth. Implanted-supported bridges are used when more than one tooth is missing, or if there is concern that clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth will put excessive pressure on an individual implant.
Locator retained overdentures: For patients requiring replacement of all teeth in the upper and/or lower arch of the mouth, a locator retained overdenture with dental implants is an excellent treatment option. Implants are used to anchor full dentures with jacket snap type attachments. This option of denture anchorage is a great way to stabilize dentures, allows for optimal eating and speaking, and is far superior and more comfortable than using denture adhesive.
Fixed hybrid dentures: For patients missing an entire upper or lower arch of teeth, this is the superior option. 5-6 implants are placed, and teeth are fabricated that screw on to the implants. The teeth function and feel just like natural teeth!
Full denture wearers have the option of replacing all of their teeth with multiple dental implants or using dental implants to securely anchor their dentures with denture anchor attachments on two or more implants, giving the teeth a more natural look and secure fit.
Dental implants have proven themselves to be a safe long-term solution for tooth replacement. If you feel this type of treatment may be right for you, we are happy to offer you a free initial consultation to discuss your options.
About Dr. Efird
Dr. Jeff Efird has practiced dentistry for over 20 years. His love and respect for the dental profession continues to grow as he sees patients positively affected by proper oral health and quality treatment under his care. Dr. Efird understands a relationship with a dentist is a lifelong endeavor and values the respect and trust his patients extend.
Dr. Efird began his training as an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill. He attained a degree in chemistry before continuing his education and graduating from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in 1987.
Dedicated to expanding his own knowledge and that of his practice, Dr. Efird has completed over 1000 hours of continuing education since graduating from dental school. Over the last decade he has focused most of his education of advanced restorative techniques and implant restorative solutions. Much of the training has been associated with the renowned Spear Education center in Scottsdale.
A member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, North Carolina Dental Society, and Buncombe County Dental Society, Dr. Efird is committed to providing outstanding quality care to patients in Western North Carolina. He lives in Asheville with his wife and son, and loves to fish and build handcrafted boats.