When you lose a tooth, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one dealing with what can be a very emotional issue. In fact, the American College of Prosthodontists says about 120 million adults in the United States. are missing at least one tooth while about 36 million have lost all their adult teeth, and this is a serious problem. Even one missing tooth can throw off your bite balance and make you more prone to problems such as decay, tooth wear, jaw pain and more tooth loss in the future.
Dentures and bridges have traditionally been the only options for replacing missing teeth. And while they can help restore your bite mechanics to reduce the risks of uneven tooth wear, jaw pain and overall dysfunction, they’re still far from ideal. During the past couple of decades, dental implants have soared in popularity as men and women discover the significant advantages implants have over dentures and bridges. At A Beautiful Smile Dentistry, we help patients tap into those benefits with state-of-the-art dental implants designed for a lifetime of better oral health.
How implants work
A dental implant is made up of three parts. The first part is the implant itself — a strong metal post made of titanium, the same metal used in many joint implants and other surgeries. Titanium is a biocompatible material, which means it doesn’t cause interactions inside your body. The post is implanted into your jaw bone, so it’s very secure. The second part is called an abutment, and it serves as an attachment between the metal post and the third implant part, which is the artificial tooth or crown.
Dental implants are designed a lot like your natural teeth, with the metal post serving as an artificial root. The implant procedure typically takes three visits. During the first visit, the post is implanted and given some time to fuse with your jaw bone. A few weeks later, the abutment is attached and the dentist makes an impression or mold that’s sent to a lab where your crown will be made. At the third visit, the crown is securely attached to the abutment. Once the implant is in place, you can care for it like you care for your other teeth, with regular brushing, flossing and professional cleanings. There’s no special care routine, and you don’t have to develop special skills like you do when cleaning the gums under a fixed bridge.
Benefits of implants
Ease of care is certainly one benefit of dental implants, but there are lots of others. Most of the benefits of dental implants have to do with the way they’re designed. Because the post that secures the crown is embedded in your jaw, it’s extremely secure. The titanium fuses with your bone tissue to ensure the entire implant is firmly attached. That means you can feel a lot more confident when you’re eating — you won’t have to worry about embarrassing slippage or sore spots that can form from a poorly fitted denture, nor will you have the discomfort that comes from having a tiny food particle lodged under a denture, or worse, under a fixed bridge. That attachment also means the implant feels and looks a lot more like a natural tooth for even greater confidence.
Beyond aesthetics, comfort and functionality, dental implants can also help improve your oral health. Because the implant acts like your tooth’s natural root, it works to stimulate the natural bone replacement cycle in your jaw bone. Normally, your tooth root provides the stimulation your jaw needs to replace old, worn bone tissue with new, healthy cells, keeping the jaw strong. When the root is gone, the bone replacement cycle stops and your jaw bone can begin to wear away and become thin and weak. Roots on either side of the weak area start to loosen, and eventually, those teeth can fall out as well. By standing in for your tooth’s natural root, implants continue the bone replacement cycle to help prevent root loosening and tooth loss.
Learn how dental implants can help you
Beautiful aesthetics, greater comfort, improved security and better oral health — it’s easy to see why dental implants have become the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. To find out more about dental implants at A Beautiful Smile Dentistry or to schedule a consultation, book an appointment online today.