Are you missing a tooth or several teeth? It’s a problem that affects millions of North Americans, but many of those people do not immediately understand all of the related problems that a missing tooth can cause.
When you lose one or several teeth you begin to realize just how important each tooth is. The importance of each tooth becomes even more noticeable over time. As bone loss occurs in the jaw bone where the root of the missing tooth would have been, and teeth above and adjacent to the missing tooth begin to shift and tilt inward throwing off your entire bite position.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, the traditional treatment in dentistry has been bridges or dentures. The challenge with both of these solutions is that they do not solve the problem of bone loss. With the invention of implants, virtually all of the challenges of tooth loss have been addressed – and the best news is that these have over 40 years of track record as a treatment option.
As you contemplate dental implants as an option to replace one or several missing teeth, here are some facts about them to help inform your decision:
- They stimulate the jaw bone in a natural way
To highlight an important outcome of this procedure, it is the only restorative dental treatment that will prevent bone loss and at the same time promote bone growth. Since they act on the bone in a similar way to the roots of a tooth, the bone continues to be stimulated and therefore it regenerates itself naturally.
If tooth loss is left untreated, or in the case of traditional approaches utilizing bridges or dentures, bone loss will occur and the patient will begin to experience structural changes in their face. Over time, the jawbone will shorten, which will cause cheeks to cave in and the face to appear prematurely aged. This effect can be completely avoided.
- They are very durable
Oral care and hygiene are still essential to maintain the health of the gums, surrounding teeth and overall health of the mouth and body once you have them. Once this is successfully placed, it is very durable because the titanium, as well as the crown are resistant to decay and can never develop a cavity – which leads to the next point.
- They can last a lifetime
The materials used in this procedure are compatible with human tissue. When it heals, it actually fuses with your jawbone and integrates with surrounding tissue. It is therefore permanent and you will not need to worry about slippage as you would with dentures or replacements as you would with bridges.
- They have a high success rate
Dental implants have an impressive success rate of nearly 98 percent. The biggest risk factor in fact, is smoking. Since smokers have a significantly higher rate of failure than patients who are non-smokers, quitting smoking before such treatment is strongly recommended.
While implants represent an amazing advancement in dentistry, they are not suitable in every situation. People who are not good candidates for this treatment include those with gum disease and those with suppressed immune systems. Children and teens are also not good candidates as their mouths are still changing and developing. Talk to your dentist to find out if this procedure is suitable for you.