Although we hope and expect that our teeth will last a lifetime, sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Fortunately, several solutions are available to replace missing teeth. Although dentures were considered the treatment of choice for many years, dental implants are now being recognized as a more comfortable, attractive, and effective treatment in many situations. While dentures sit on top of the gums and may slip, shift, or pinch, dental implants replace tooth roots and provide a stable foundation for high-quality replacement teeth. Dental implants have advantages over other treatments as well, including bridgework and removable partial dentures. Scroll down to explore the many benefits of dental implants.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Very Similar to Natural Teeth
Because dental implants fuse with the jawbone and stabilize replacement teeth, they function like natural teeth. They allow you to eat, speak, brush, and floss as you always have. In many ways, dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. And unlike dentures, you won’t have to worry about a dental implant falling out, slipping, or rubbing against your gums.
Improved Chewing Ability
Dentures, partial dentures, and bridges won’t fully restore your chewing ability. You might find it difficult or even impossible to enjoy certain foods, such as steak or corn on the cob. Dental implants, on the other hand, restore the majority of your chewing power. Because they’re anchored in your jaw like natural teeth, you can chew normally and enjoy your favorite foods without discomfort or pain – even tough, crunchy, and chewy foods.
Our teeth play an important role in our ability to pronounce certain sounds, so losing a tooth can have a dramatic impact on your speech. In addition, poor-fitting dentures may cause you to slur or lisp. These issues can be embarrassing and distracting, causing some people to mumble or speak less often. Because dental implants function like natural teeth, they can eliminate these speech issues and restore your ability to speak easily and comfortably.
Improved Oral Health
Many people don’t realize that losing a tooth can impact your oral health in many ways. First, the body will begin to resorb the gum tissue and jawbone, which can cause wrinkles, hollow cheeks, and premature aging. In addition, the adjacent teeth may begin to shift or crowd due to the gap, creating alignment issues. If this causes a poor bite, you may experience issues with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can cause pain and headaches.
Some treatments for missing teeth can impact your overall oral health as well. For example, a tooth-supported bridge requires that the adjacent teeth (the teeth holding the bridge) be filed down and topped with crowns. If these teeth are otherwise healthy, this dental work isn’t ideal as it can weaken the teeth. In addition, dentures can cause inflammation and gum sores due to their frequent movement, which can increase risk of gum disease.
One of the most important benefits of dental implants is that they don’t negatively impact your remaining teeth. Because they replace the previous tooth’s roots, they can prevent bone loss (as we discuss in more detail below), and they don’t alter the adjacent teeth at all. In addition, they make it easier to maintain your oral health because you can brush and floss them normally. Plus, they don’t decay!
Prevention of Bone Loss
When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone that used to support that tooth will gradually deteriorate due to lack of stimulation. Within a year, a significant amount of the bone will be resorbed into the body. In fact, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry recommends that patients get a dental implant as soon as possible after tooth loss to prevent bone loss at the extraction site. The titanium rod anchoring the implant will act like tooth roots, sending signals to the jawbone to grow around it, preventing bone loss and possibly even reversing bone loss that has already occurred. Other tooth replacement options can’t provide the same benefit. Dentures actually accelerate bone loss by rubbing and shifting, wearing away the jawbone.
Missing a tooth affects your appearance, causing a gap in your beautiful smile, and this will likely affect your confidence as well. If you feel self-conscious about your smile, you may be tempted to cover your mouth while speaking, smile with your mouth closed, or even avoid laughing in public.
Don’t let a missing tooth destroy your self-esteem! Dental implants are so natural and realistic, no one will know you’ve lost a tooth. Plus, unlike dentures, they don’t shift or have a hard plastic covering on the roof of the mouth. And unlike partial dentures, they don’t have metal clasps or attachments. Aesthetically, they’re extraordinarily similar to natural teeth.
A Permanent Solution
Dental implants are a permanent, hassle-free solution to tooth loss. They’re convenient, reliable, comfortable, and will last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. Over time, your bio-compatible dental implant will fully integrate with your jawbone, becoming a part of you. Although you may need to replace the crown on your implant every 15 years or so, the implant itself shouldn’t need to be replaced at all. Bridges and dentures, on the other hand, will require regular replacements as the years go by.
Have you recently lost a tooth? Are you having a tooth extracted? We encourage you to explore the many benefits of dental implants. Your dentist can determine if you’re a good candidate for this effective, reliable treatment.
Are you missing a tooth? If you would like to replace it with a dental implant or bridge and you live in Springfield, Missouri, please contact Wilkinson Dental today. You can request an appointment online or give us a call at 417-882-8222. We would be happy to help! We can also answer the question, “Are dental implants painful?” in more depth.