Tooth loss can have devastating effects not only on your smile’s aesthetics but also on your oral and general health. In restoring a complete smile after tooth loss, dental implants can boost your well-being in addition to your appearance.
Dental implants are unique among prosthetic tooth replacements because they include a root-like structure, created by the implant itself, a titanium cylinder with which the surrounding bone forms a bond after the dentist inserts it into the jaw. Although they’re underappreciated, your teeth’s roots actually have major implications for your health, and dental implants function much in the same way.
First of all, a patient who chooses dental implants gains jawbone stability. A tooth’s root acts as an anchor, holding the jawbone in place. A dental implant does the same thing, but a tooth replacement appliance that lacks a link to the jaw will not be able to secure the jawbone. As it wears away, jawbone atrophy can put the other teeth at risk for loss, further compromising your oral health.
Additionally, dental implants stand alone without support from surrounding teeth. In contrast, a dental bridge requires that crowns be placed on adjacent teeth to support the pontic (artificial tooth). That structure means that healthy enamel must be sacrificed to make room for the crown, which can weaken the teeth.
If you fail to replace missing teeth at all, it also has consequences for your health. The remaining teeth will shift to fill in the empty space, causing those teeth to be subjected to unusual forces and could be damaged in the process. Your ability to speak and chew properly may be affected.
Patients do need to have adequate bone to support osseointegration of the dental implants in order to gain the advantages of this treatment method. So, if you lost your tooth or teeth a number of years ago, you may need to undergo a preliminary bone graft to improve your chances of dental implant success.
A complete smile – including roots and crowns of teeth – offers many health benefits to patients who have suffered tooth loss. To learn more about this treatment option, schedule an initial consultation at our office.