For many patients whose New Year’s resolutions were to “restore their smiles,” they might be thinking about teeth whitening treatment or teeth alignment technologies like Invisalign. But what if you suffer from missing teeth?
Missing teeth occur due to a variety of issues, from trauma or injury all the way to tooth loss due to decay. Maybe you’ve already tried dental bridges or partial dentures to solve the issue. Or maybe your case is more severe. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 36 million Americans have no natural teeth at all, and 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth. These numbers are expected to grow in the next two decades.
For Carrollton-area patients who are currently experiencing tooth loss or have been fitted for removable tooth replacements like bridges or dentures, today’s article talks about your more permanent solution. This is the option that feels more natural, and that you never have to worry about slipping or shifting.
Yes, we’re talking about dental implants.
We’ve discussed dental implants here on the Josey Lane Dentistry blog many times before. However, while we have discussed the procedure and the changes associated with recovery, we want to dig deeper into the very decision to choose implants over other options. How do you know that it’s time to consider implants? We’ll get into some general insights and best-dental-practices below, just remember to talk to your dentist for an evaluation of your unique case.
When should someone consider dental implants?
For decades, when faced with tooth loss, the first option for patients to restore their smiles was commonly a bridge. The teeth on either side of the space were shaved down, and a dental bridge with a fake tooth in the middle was cemented over them. This certainly addressed the problem of adjacent or opposing teeth shifting, as well as provided an esthetic solution for the missing tooth or teeth. However, because chewing forces were now distributed to the bone surrounding the roots of the neighboring teeth (rather than the bone in the area of the space), the re-absorptive process could cause a defect in the bone and gums over time, and that area would develop a “food trap” that spurred further decay.
During those times, for those who were missing multiple teeth, dentures were commonly advised. But, even then, lack of even force being transmitted to the jawbone without tooth roots meant that bone re-absorption became an issue yet again, leading to constant refitting or remaking of the removable dentures.
If you’ve been suffering some of the long–term effects of these more temporary solutions for tooth loss, it might be time to consider the more permanent dental implant. A dental implant is like an artificial tooth root implanted in the jawbone that is capable of supporting one or more teeth. And because of the titanium “root’s” absorption into the jawline, re-absorption is not an issue with dental implants.
Is it time for me to get an implant?
Many patients opt to try bridges or dentures first since their procedures are less invasive (and generally less expensive). That decision, however, has a longer-lasting impact than most patients realize. Complications that can arise include bone deterioration or shifting in the teeth. Changes to the shape of the mouth also lead to removable products not fitting as they should, making it difficult to speak and eating a balanced diet.
If you’ve already suffered any of these side-effects to less permanent tooth replacement options, like noticing that your diet is deteriorating or that you’re avoiding social situations due to concerns about your dentures, it might be time to explore dental implants.
And looking at the factor of time, if you’re tired of scheduling appointments to get bridge or dentures adjusted, implants can last for 20 years or more without the need for replacement.
Dental implants are often a popular choice for people who have only one or two teeth missing, but they can also be an alternative to dentures for patients with several missing teeth. As long as your gums and jaw are healthy, two or more implants can serve as a base of support for several replacement teeth.
If you are ready to explore dental implants as a more permanent solution for your missing teeth, give our Carrollton, TX office a call today!