Dental Implants Go Beyond a Smile
Replacing missing teeth is about more than our appearance – though it certainly can make an enormous difference in our smile. And, it’s about more than being able to eat our food or speak properly, though it surely plays a role there as well. The fact of the matter is that the more teeth we lose – whether due to gum disease, accidents, or various health problems – the more at risk we are of more serious oral health problems later on. Moreover, our mouth is often the front line in the battle our body wages against disease so problems that start there can have implications for your body as a whole.
This is why it’s important to heed the advice of nearly every dental expert and consider replacing teeth with dental implants.
What About Dentures?
Dentures and fixed bridgework were the only available form of tooth replacement for a very long time and, to this day, they remain a very good option, though not quite the best. They solve many of the most basic and obvious issues related to missing teeth. It’s true that they require special care and involve some inconveniences but they prevent a great while allowing patients to live normal lives. Nevertheless, there are several ways in which they are less than completely ideal.
Preventing Bone Loss
At present, dental implants are the only solution that can prevent the most frightening side effect of losing teeth: bone loss. Missing teeth can cause the jawbone to lose calcium leading to what doctors call bone resorption. At its worse, resorption can lead to n insidious form of osteoporosis that can cause our faces to become hollowed out. Much worse, bone loss can lead to more gum disease, leading to more lost teeth – assuming we still have teeth left to lose – and a higher risk of truly serious health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
To be clear, this nightmare scenario can be prevented for most denture wearers to some degree with good oral and very regular dental visits…and, again, it’s much better to wear dentures than to ignore missing teeth. Still, there is something that can prevent severe bone loss right at the source.
Dental implants make direct contact with the bones of the jaw and, when we chew, we “trick” the jawbone into acting as if teeth are present, conserving precious bone and preventing the kind of oral health disasters described above. The role of oral implants in dealing with bone loss has been documented in numerous studies.*
Convenience and Appearance
While dentists warn about bone loss, the primary motivator for many dental implant patients is more immediate. They’re just easier to live with.
For many patients, the best thing about dental implants is that, once they are fully in place with permanent crowns, they are the same as natural teeth. Patients can eat all of the same food they ate before without worrying about dentures slipping or being damaged. Better yet, they can be cared for in the same way we care for natural teeth – twice daily brushing and flossing.
And, yes, dental implants are also agreed to be the most appealing form of tooth replacement. The dental crowns that top the implants can be custom-made to flatter the patient’s smile. While implants are about much more than cosmetic dentistry, there’s no doubt they offer cosmetic benefits.
Learn More about Dental Implants
If you need replacements for lost or extracted teeth – or have serious teeth or gum problems that may require extraction – Dr. Niloo Tavakol and her friendly and compassionate team of oral health care professionals at Northridge Dental Works want to hear from you.