Don’t Ignore Missing Teeth and Discover Dental Implants
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, sixty-nine percent of all adults lose at least one permanent tooth by the time they are forty-four years old. Because these adults can often still eat, they may chose to ignore their missing tooth (or teeth). However, ignoring missing teeth can have long-term consequences to your health and appearance. Further, dental implants are by far the best option for most people to prevent the negative effects of missing teeth.
Missing teeth may be due to an accident, tooth decay, gum decay, or a root canal that failed. Regardless of the reason for the loss, missing teeth cause permanent bone loss and shrinking gums. As this restructuring of the
your mouth continues, it can affect the appearance of your face. Often times, the cheeks of people who are missing teeth get a “hollowed look.” Facial muscle tone may also be caused by missing teeth and even one missing tooth can affect your smile. Missing teeth also cause your existing teeth to shift making them harder to clean and more susceptible to breaks and decay.
There are many advantages of dental implants over removable dentures or fixed bridges that attach to adjacent teeth. First and foremost, dental implants prevent loss of bone and gum shrinkage because the titanium roots are surgically placed into the jawbone. The titanium then fuses with the bone in a process called osseointegration which stimulates the bone in much the same way a real tooth would stimulate it. While “permanently” placed bridges often fail due to the teeth they are attached to decaying, the use of dental implants avoids this problem entirely. Furthermore, they do not cause gum irritation like removable dentures.
There is an innovative dental implant option called “all on 4 dental implants” for those who may be missing several teeth and/or have several teeth that are failing. It is also a good solution for people who have been wearing dentures and they aren’t working well and/or their facial muscle tone has been significantly impaired by this fact. The all on 4 dental implants procedure uses four implants to support an entire arch of teeth (top or bottom). This procedure usually does not require bone grafting and the four implants are placed at an angle to increase their contact with the jawbone. This added contact provides strength for the entire arch. Another major advantage is that this procedure can be done in a single day.
Dental implants provide many advantages to those with missing or failing teeth over more traditional methods like dentures and permanent bridges. Be sure to discuss this desirable option with your dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Makkattil is a Board certified Periodontist in Salem and Portland Oregon, with Polaris Dental Specialists.