Losing a tooth may just be a cosmetic issue at first, but the health problems that missing teeth can cause should not be overlooked. Luckily, there are several ways in which a patient’s dental health can benefit from tooth replacement with dental implants.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. These small titanium posts are surgically inserted into the jawbone, where they are left to heal for a few weeks. Since titanium is a metal that is compatible with the human body, dental implants fuse with the jawbone and create a sturdy base for crowns, dentures or bridges.
There are generally three phases to getting dental implants. First, the dentist will surgically place them in the upper or lower jawbone. Next, the bone around the dental implants heals and holds them in place. Some patients may have to wait until the dental implants are completely integrated, before replacement teeth can be placed onto them. Other patients can have replacement teeth loaded onto their dental implants straight away.
A permanent solution
One way in which dental implants are different from other tooth replacement options, is that they offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. While bridges and dentures have their benefits and uses, they all need to be replaced over time. Once implants are successfully integrated into the jawbone, they stay stable no matter what.
Overall health improvement
A lost tooth has many negative consequences for a patient’s oral and overall health. It can cause bone loss, gum recession, tooth crowding and misalignment as well as tooth loss. This is because the rest of the teeth start to crowd together in order to fill the gaps created by missing teeth. Getting dental implants restores balance and stability to the mouth, keeping the rest of the teeth healthy and in place.
Protecting the jawbone
Last but not least, tooth loss can also cause jawbone loss. If missing teeth are not replaced, the jawbone begins to deteriorate and become weaker. Dental implants halt this process, reinforce the bone and encourage the creation of new bone tissue.