This article delves into the consequences of missing teeth and why it’s so important to replace them. It also discusses why dental implants are the preferred choice of restoration for restoring both your smile and oral health.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you’re not alone. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, as many as 178 million people in the US have lost at least one tooth and approximately 40 million Americans are missing all their teeth.
They say a person’s smile can light up a room and our teeth play a significant role in this. Beyond esthetics, however, teeth are essential for speaking, chewing, and maintaining the structural integrity of our jawbone. Unfortunately, tooth loss is a common dental issue that can impact both our oral health and overall well-being. Dental implants have emerged as a revolutionary solution to address this problem, offering not only cosmetic benefits but also functional and long-term advantages. In this article, we'll delve into the importance of replacing missing teeth and why dental implants are the preferred choice for restoring your smile and oral health. So, let’s get started.
The Consequences of Missing Teeth
- Impaired Chewing Function: One of the most immediate and noticeable effects of missing teeth is difficulty in chewing and eating. Missing teeth can limit your ability to enjoy a wide range of foods, potentially leading to nutritional deficiencies and a reduced quality of life.
- Speech Impediments: Our teeth play a crucial role in articulating speech sounds. Missing teeth can lead to speech impediments, making it challenging to communicate clearly and confidently.
- Shifting of Adjacent Teeth: Gaps left by missing teeth can cause neighboring teeth to shift or tilt into the vacant space. This can lead to misalignment issues, bite problems, and even jaw pain.
- Bone Loss: The roots of our teeth stimulate the underlying jawbone, keeping it healthy and strong. When a tooth is lost, this stimulation diminishes, causing bone loss over time. In fact, it’s estimated that over 50% of the width of the alveolar bone is lost within 12 months of tooth loss or extraction, and 30% of that bone loss occurs within 12 weeks. This can result in a sunken facial appearance and potential complications if you seek tooth replacement options later on.
So now you know the reasons for replacing missing teeth as quickly as you can, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of dental implants as opposed to other restoration methods.
The Dental Implant Advantage
Dental implants have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their ability to address these issues effectively. Here are some key benefits of dental implants:
- Natural appearance: Dental implants closely replicate the look and function of natural teeth. They are custom-designed to match the color, shape, and size of your existing teeth, ensuring a seamless smile.
- Improved Chewing Function: Unlike dentures, which can slip or cause discomfort, dental implants are firmly anchored to the jawbone. This provides stability and allows for efficient chewing, enabling you to enjoy your favorite foods without limitations.
- Preserving Adjacent Teeth: Unlike a conventional dental bridge, implants don't rely on adjacent teeth for support. This means that your healthy teeth remain unaffected, reducing the risk of misalignment and bite problems.
- Preventing Bone Loss: Dental implants stimulate the jawbone just like natural tooth roots, preventing bone loss and maintaining the structural integrity of your face.
- Longevity: With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. According to a study that involved 4,247 patients and 10,871 implants, the cumulative survival rate at 3,5,10 and 15 years was 98.9%, 98.5%, 96.8%, and 94.0%, respectively, making them a cost-effective and durable solution.
As you can see, dental implants provide many benefits, most of which can’t be matched by any other restorative solutions. Whether you’re considering dental implants to replace one or several missing teeth or you are struggling with loose and uncomfortable dentures, it helps to understand what’s involved in the procedure so you know what to expect.
The Dental Implant Process in a Nutshell
Unfortunately, getting dental implants can take several months from start to completion. This is because the procedure involves multiple steps with healing time in between the various stages. Here’s what to expect:
- Consultation: Your dentist will evaluate your oral health, discuss your specific needs and goals, and use diagnostic tools to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants. If your jawbone is thin or of poor quality you may have to undergo bone grafting prior to dental implant surgery.
- Implant Placement: A titanium implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, where it fuses with the bone over several months in a process known as osseointegration.
- Abutment Attachment: As soon as the implant has fused with the bone, an abutment is attached to it. This serves as a connector for the final restoration. On some occasions, the abutment may be placed at the same time as the implant.
- Crown Placement: A custom-made crown is attached to the abutment, completing the restoration and restoring your smile.
The importance of replacing missing teeth cannot be overstated. Dental implants offer a comprehensive solution that not only enhances your appearance but also restores your oral health and functionality. With their natural look, durability, and long-term benefits, dental implants have become the gold standard in tooth replacement.
At Chesterfield Dentistry, Dr Akinwande provides dental implant solutions for all situations from single-tooth implants to implant-supported bridges and All-on-4 dental implants to replace complete arches of missing teeth.
Don't let missing teeth hold you back; consult with our dentist to explore the transformative possibilities of dental implants and regain your confidence, comfort, and quality of life. Your smile deserves nothing less.
Why not call Chesterfield Dentistry at 314 936 6321 or book online to schedule a free dental implant consultation and learn how implants can help restore your smile and your confidence.