Any great dentist will realize losing even a single tooth can be extremely upsetting and will strive to help patients discover the best way to replace them, but not all will offer dental implants. Instead, you may be offered options such as partial dentures or dental bridges, which may be very suitable for you but it’s still worth enquiring about whether you could have dental implants.
Why Are Dental Implants the Best Long-Term Solution for Tooth Loss?
One of the major reasons why dental implants represent the best way of replacing teeth in the longer term is due to the way they can preserve your jawbone. They are the only solution can do this and it is important for your dental health.
Why Your Tooth Roots Matter
When you lose a tooth, your dentist will normally take out the tooth root as well as the crown of the tooth. In addition to anchoring the tooth in place, the tooth root provides valuable stimulation to the bone surrounding it.
Whenever you bite or chew food, some of the forces created are transmitted right through the tooth crown, down through the tooth root and out into the surrounding bone. This tells your body that it needs to renew old bone cells in your jawbone as they die off.
Without the tooth root, your body has no way of knowing that the bone cells in your jawbone are still required and as they die off they are no longer replaced. This results in the gradual loss of jawbone and it is detrimental to your dental health. When you lose bone in your jaw it can destabilize your natural teeth. Thus, resulting in these teeth beginning to drift out of position towards the empty gap and this, in turn, can affect your occlusion which is the way your teeth bite together.
If you have lost all your teeth, then things can become even more difficult. The bone that used to support your teeth will gradually lose width and height, affecting your overall facial dimensions which are why people without any teeth can often look as if their face is collapsing inwards. Also, if you choose to have full dentures then they will gradually fit less securely due to the reduced retention that comes with the reduction in your jawbone.
How Dental Implants Replace Your Tooth Roots
Dental implants are very much like an artificial tooth root, consisting of a small titanium post made of a medical grade alloy that is inserted into your jawbone. Dental implant posts are usually specially treated in some way to encourage new bone cells to grow on and around them. This is so that soon after surgery they become firmly anchored into your jawbone and act just like a natural tooth root. Once in place, your body will know that it must continue renewing old bone cells and bone loss is halted.
Enjoy Secure and Long-Lasting Replacement Teeth
Once your dental implants are in place, they can be used to support single crowns or bridges or full dentures. Crowns and bridges are permanently secured in place either by being screwed onto the dental implants or being cemented in position, whereas full dentures are removable for easy cleaning.
Dental implants are frequently an excellent choice even if you are only missing a single tooth. If you are missing multiple teeth in the same location of your mouth, an implant supported bridge can be a good option to consider. This is because the bridge will be supported by dental implants rather than your natural teeth which are frequently preferable if the teeth adjacent to the gap are healthy and strong and do not need to be covered up with crowns.
With a bridge supported by your natural teeth, your dentist will need to substantially grind down these teeth to support the bridge. This isn’t so bad if these teeth are decayed or need crowns, but it is undesirable if there is nothing wrong with these teeth as removing any structure from a tooth increases the risk it will become infected or decayed at a later date.
Your dental implant dentist will be able to discuss which solution will best meet your needs. One thing to bear in mind is that even if you have no natural teeth remaining, you don’t need to replace them with a removable implant supported denture if you’d prefer not to.
These days, it is possible to replace complete arches of teeth with an implant secured bridge. Although a little more expensive than an implant secured denture, this option does provide the ultimate in tooth replacement for people who have suffered complete tooth loss.
How Long Can Dental Implant Teeth Last?
Once your dental implants are in position and have fully integrated with your jawbone, they should last for many years to come. This is dependent on how well you look after your dental implants as they need to be kept meticulously clean to avoid the tissues around them from becoming infected which will greatly increase the chance of implant failure.
Dental implant treatment isn’t new, and many people have already enjoyed having implant teeth for decades. With the proper care, there is even the possibility that your implants could last for life. Your restorative dental implants which are your crowns, bridges or dentures should also last for many years but will need renewing periodically, just like any other dental restoration in your mouth.
Am I Suitable for Dental Implants?
This is a question best answered by your dental implant dentist who will need to fully evaluate your dental health and your medical health. In general, most people will be suitable for this treatment with a few exceptions. For example, if you smoke and don’t want to quit, or if you have a medical condition that affects your immune system and which could slow down healing after implant surgery, it’s possible you may need to consider another way to replace your teeth.
When properly planned, implant surgery is enormously successful and most dental implant dentists have success rates of 95% or higher, but this is also due to careful patient screening prior to implant surgery. Your dentist can discuss all the pros and cons of this treatment and the possible risks based on your dental and medical history. This will allow you to make a fully informed decision as to whether this treatment is the right option for you.