The American College of Prosthodontists estimates that about 178 million U.S. residents are missing at least a tooth while approximately 48 million Americans have lost all their teeth. Once you lose a tooth, several things happen that might not be immediately noticeable but will ultimately affect your health and appearance. For starters, the roots which hold the tooth in place are also critical to the stability of the neighboring teeth as well as the jawbone. People who have lost one or more teeth are predisposed to jawbone deterioration. This explains why such people have a sunken look. Dental implants are also a smart choice for youth and adults who have lost one or more teeth due to injuries, tooth decay, or infections.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is an artificial replacement tooth that mimics your natural tooth structure. The prosthetic tooth has a titanium root that is inserted into the gum and which supports the crown. Dental implants restore your smile’s appearance and function exactly like your natural teeth. Unlike other dental prosthetic procedures, dental implants are devoid of messy adhesives. You can also eat all types of foods and speak naturally.
As a dental implant looks just like your natural tooth, you should care for it as you would your natural teeth. This includes having a cleaning and flossing regimen as well as scheduling regular dental check-ups. With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Benefits of dental implants
Some of the benefits associated with dental implants include:
The mouth is reinstated almost to its natural state
The structure of a dental implant imitates that of your natural tooth. That is, it includes the root, the abutment (bridge), and the crown. The abutment connects the crown to the root which provides a stable foundation for comfortable chewing and biting. Normally, a patient will not be able to tell which teeth are natural and which ones are artificial.
Dental implants preserve your facial structure integrity
Facial sagging is one of the undesirable effects of missing teeth. It occurs when the lower third of your face begins to collapse and slowly reduces the distance between the chin and the nose of your tip. This results in a pointed chin, more wrinkles around the mouth, and thinning lips. This makes you look older than you are. Dental implants help prevent bone deterioration and maintains your facial structure.
Dental implants keep the adjacent teeth stable
The longer you stay with a gap from a missing tooth, the more the adjacent teeth move towards the gap. Ultimately, this affects your bite or ability to chew as well as your appearance. This also makes tooth replacement difficult. Having dental implants inserted as soon as your tooth falls out is the most effective way of preventing such conditions.
They are easy to care for
Unlike dentures which you have to remove and soak in a specific cleaning solution, you only have to brush dental implants with a soft-bristled brush after every meal using a low-abrasive toothpaste. Floss the implants daily either with implant-specific floss or unwaxed tape.
Adjacent teeth are not affected
Conventional prosthetics require the grinding down of the adjacent teeth. This compromises not only their tooth-structure but also their long-term health. Partial dentures also have clasps that hook onto the adjacent teeth causing undue pressure. In the end, these teeth could loosen and even fall out. Dental implants fit snugly on the gap without damaging or compromising the health and structure of the other teeth.
They are long-lasting
With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. However, you will need to refrain from such habits as opening things using your teeth and biting down on hard items such as pen tips and pencils. You may need to replace an implant if it becomes loose or if you develop an infection.
To learn more about different dental treatment options and find out whether you qualify for dental implants, call us today or visit one of our two offices.