Your teeth were meant to last a lifetime. But sometimes they don’t. When you have lost a permanent tooth to trauma, decay, or disease, it is important to your dental health to replace that tooth.
If a lost tooth is not replaced, you are at risk for developing other complications such as your remaining teeth becoming crowded, tipped over, or even lost altogether. That is why, in addition to the cosmetic benefits of replacing a lost permanent tooth, the functional benefits of dental implants should be part of your consideration when exploring treatment options.
Dental implants function like natural teeth
Dental implants offer you much more than a cosmetic repair to your smile. Instead of replacing just the visible tooth, a dental implant also acts as a replacement for the tooth root. The implant is placed in the jaw bone and acts as an anchor for a replacement tooth or crown that is customized to match your natural teeth. This anchor, usually made of titanium, mimics the feel and function of a natural tooth. Most patients cannot tell a difference between their implant and their other teeth. They can enjoy normal foods and can easily maintain their implant with good brushing and flossing.
Dental implants prevent bone loss
Within our jaw, there is a natural feedback loop between the bone and the teeth it supports. As we chew, our teeth actually stimulate the jawbone to stay healthy and strong. When a natural tooth is lost and not replaced, that feedback loop is lost. The empty space in the jawbone will eventually deteriorate due to the lack of stimulation. This deterioration compromises the strength and volume of the bone itself. Within the first year, patients can experience bone loss up to 25% resulting in a noticeable change to facial appearance.
Dental implants protect your remaining natural teeth
A gap in your smile also affects the surrounding teeth. Eventually, they begin to shift, may start to tip over, and may even fall out. Other treatment options such as a tooth-supported bridge, require that adjacent teeth are grinded down to be fitted with the bridge. This natural tooth structure can never be replaced. Dental implants keep your remaining natural teeth in position and do not require you to sacrifice their structural integrity.