Despite the numerous advancements in dental care, millions of people in America still suffer from tooth loss. The majority of people lose their teeth due to conditions like tooth decay, periodontal disease, or injury. For a long time, the only replacement options that were available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. While these were great, they didn’t come close to the appearance and functionality of natural teeth. Fortunately, today, you can also opt for dental implants. So what sets dental implants apart from the rest? First, let’s take a look at what dental implants are.
What Are Dental Implants?
Before diving into the advantages of dental implants, you might want to know more about them and how the dental implant process works. A dental implant is a replacement tooth root that provides a solid foundation for fixed replacement teeth. The dental implant process starts with an orthodontic exam where your dental surgeon checks to see if there is enough bone to support the implant. After placement of the implant, you will need several months of healing. If, during that time, the implant fuses well with your bone tissue, the crown will be attached, and the process will be complete. Here are some of the advantages of dental implants.
Implants Behave Like Natural Teeth
Dental implants are the true definition of restoration. This is because they are as close to natural teeth as possible. They don’t just look like natural teeth; they also behave like natural teeth. This means that your full chewing power will be restored. The majority of patients can’t tell the difference between dental implants and their natural teeth. Not only will you be able to eat normally, but you will also brush and floss normally too.
A Dental Implant Can Last a Lifetime
Most methods of tooth replacement are temporary. For instance, a dental bridge may only last about ten years. This means you might need to visit the doctor several times for repair or replacement. Fortunately, with implants, that might never happen. If you take proper care of your implant and maintain good oral hygiene, it’s highly likely that the implant will last a lifetime.
Dental implants are made from titanium. Apart from that, they fully integrate with the jaw bone, meaning the implant essentially becomes part of you. Being biocompatible is one of the reasons why they last as long as they do. They are non-toxic, and the body will not reject the implant.
An Implant Can Help to Prevent Bone Loss
When you lose a tooth and the root, it’s not only your appearance and chewing ability that is affected. The jawbone is affected too. This is because the jawbone needs tooth roots to stay stimulated. In the absence of a root, the jaw bone in the area of the missing tooth starts deteriorating. If you don’t get an implant in the first year of losing a tooth, the bone in that area starts losing volume. It may lose up to 25% in the first year.
Unfortunately, bone loss continues over the years. Solutions like dentures can even fast-track the process of bone loss because they often rub against the bony ridge, slowly wearing it away. Because of how they are installed, implants provide the needed stimulation to keep natural bone growth active. The implant essentially replaces the root, so there will be no empty space to speak of. This is why implants are the most effective and close to natural replacement method.
Implants Keep Adjacent Teeth Stable
When you lose a tooth, the gap that is created can cause adjacent teeth to crookedly shift towards each other. As you might imagine, this pulls teeth out of position, which can seriously affect your bite and your ability to chew. Consequently, this will also affect your appearance. If the tooth isn’t replaced in time, the interference that results can make the process of replacement a bit complicated later.
The migration of teeth can cause some issues with your temporomandibular joint. This is why some people who lose their teeth can suffer from pain and headaches. A dental implant can prevent this from happening since it occupies the space that was occupied by your natural tooth. There will, therefore, typically be no migration or crookedness of teeth.
Dental Implants Can Prevent Gum Disease
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not. On top of all the other benefits, dental implants can also help keep you free of gum disease. A gap in your teeth can trap food and bacteria, which will lead to gum disease. When you get a dental implant, the gap will be closed, and you can resume your normal oral hygiene routines. However, it’s important to also understand that an implant will not be placed if you are already suffering from gum disease. You need healthy, strong gums to get a dental implant. Gum disease weakens and dissolves bone, so you will need to deal with it first before you can get an implant. Once the gum disease is gone, the doctor can then check to see if there is enough bone to support an implant.
Dental Implants Reduce the Risk of Facial Sagging and Premature Aging
One of the unwanted effects of bone loss that results from losing teeth is facial sagging. Your teeth play other roles other than just chewing. They also maintain your facial outline and structure. This is why sometimes the lower third of the face starts to collapse when there are missing teeth. These changes gradually close the distance between the tip of your nose and chin. As a result, you may end up having excess wrinkles around the mouth, a more pointed chin, and thin lips. Dental implants prevent this problem by preventing bone loss, so naturally, everything mentioned above ends up not happening.
Dental implants are gaining popularity because of the many benefits they offer. Most people love them because they are hassle-free and they are permanent. These two alone are great reasons for you to choose implants over other methods of tooth replacement.