Dental implants are a great tooth replacement option for many people. Almost everyone will lose a tooth at some point in their life. Tooth loss may result from decay, gum disease, failed root canals, or due to an injury. Losing a tooth not only affects the appearance of your smile, but it can have lasting effects. Neighboring teeth may shift into the vacant space which causes a chain reaction of tooth instability. The corresponding teeth above or below the gap will often begin to protrude into the gap as well without counter pressure. Your jaw bone may also slowly erode in a process called resorption. When your jaw bone looses volume it is difficult to rebuild.
At the Bethesda Center for Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Bethesda, Maryland we understand the importance of tooth replacement. We help patients find the replacement type that will work best for them. We can help you evaluate the benefits and disadvantages for all tooth replacement options. The best option that cosmetic dentistry has to offer currently is dental implants.
Dental implants are quickly becoming the primary option for tooth replacement. This is because they offer unique benefits that no other option has been able to recreate. Before dental implants began their rise to fame, bridges were common for tooth replacement. With a bridge, the dentist will shave down neighboring teeth in order to fit them with crowns. Between the crowns would be an artificial tooth designed to replace the one you are missing. Unfortunately, a bridge isn’t able to provide the same, lasting benefits that dental implants can.
When a patient has a bridge, the forces from chewing are distributed to the roots and jaw bone of the supporting teeth. The jawbone below the artificial tooth does not receive needed stimulation to remain healthy. Over time, the jaw bone beneath the bridge will slowly erode away due to the lack of stimulation. As the bone tissue is lost, the gum tissue will also sink in the area. Eventually this will create a gap between the artificial tooth used for the bridge and the gum tissue below. Food can easily accumulate in this gap. This can be a vicious cycle. Your bridge will need redone a few times throughout the course of your life to ensure proper fit.
Some patients aren’t eligible for a bridge due to the amount of teeth missing. These people usually turn to partial or full dentures. However, dentures offer the same problem that we see with bridges. They are not able to adequately stimulate the jaw bone to prevent bone loss. This requires frequent adjustments or refitting of dentures. Occasionally your entire set of dentures will need to be remade in order to accommodate for the lost bone.
As technology in the dental field has advanced, a better solution has been discovered. Most dentists will recommend replacing a missing tooth or teeth due to the long term consequences. However, more dentists are now recommending that dental implants are the best way to go. This is because dental implants offer unique benefits that are unmatched by any other option.
Dental implants are nearly identical to your natural teeth in look, feel, and function. They even help stimulate your jaw bone to help prevent bone loss. No other tooth replacement options provide this unique and significant benefit. Dental implants also have the added benefit of not relying on neighboring teeth for support. This means that no healthy teeth must be shaved down for supporting crowns. No additional teeth are under added pressure to support the implant either. The dental implant functions entirely on its own, just like a natural tooth. Implants are also a permanent replacement. Once they’ve been installed there shouldn’t be any need for replacement unless there is damage. Since the bone tissue won’t deteriorate as it would in other cases, patients don’t have to worry about constant refittings.
Any patient who has sufficient bone tissue in their jaw bone can benefit from dental implants. However, even in the event that there bone loss has occurred, your dentist may be able to help you graft bone to the area. Most individuals with a missing tooth or missing teeth are eligible to receive dental implants. Set an appointment to have a conversation with your dentist. Don’t delay starting on the path to recovering your smile.
Dentists agree, for patients eligible for the procedure, that dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available. Not only because the implant will look, feel, and function like your natural teeth, but because it can do so without harming other teeth. Dental implants also provide long term benefits against bone deterioration that are unseen with any other replacement option.