How dental implants can save your smile
Posted on 3/13/2013 by Implant & Periodontal Associates NW
Are you missing one or more teeth? You're not alone. Almost 70% of adults age 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. Some are lost in accidents, but gum disease, tooth decay, and failed root canals are more common causes. As you get older, the chance that you'll lose a tooth increases.
Missing teeth lead to a cascade of problems.
When a tooth is lost or extracted, it sets in motion a cascade of events that can negatively impact your oral health. In as little as a few days, the remaining teeth tilt and drift into the gap formed by the missing tooth. This can change the way the jaw closes, causing problems with your bite.
The open space becomes a trap for food particles, which can cause plaque to build up, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. And over time, lost teeth can also lead to the loss of bone mass in the jaw, which reduces its strength and gives the face a sunken-in appearance.
Dental bridges, an inferior option.
If you lose a tooth, it should be replaced as soon as possible. Up until the early 80s, the only options for tooth replacement were dental bridges-restorations anchored to adjacent healthy teeth.
Though still popular, bridges have several disadvantages. For starters, they require that two healthy teeth be filed down to support the bridgework, which weakens them and makes them more prone to decay. Secondly, bridges do nothing to stop bone loss in the jaw. And finally, bridges are often unattractive, difficult to clean, and usually need to be replaced every 7 to 15 years.
Dental implants, the standard of care.
Called "the next best thing to natural teeth," modern titanium implants are rooted in the jaw, stopping bone loss without damage to adjacent teeth or gum tissue. An abutment is placed above the gum line, which is fitted with a crown. They can be used individually to replace one or more teeth, or place strategically to support implant restorations.
Implant-supported restorations for multiple missing teeth.
For patients missing multiple teeth, we recommend implant-supported restorations, where implants are placed in key areas of the mouth. But, instead of regular crowns, restorations with special connecting devices are used. The devices allow multiple crowns to attach to the implants. Custom bridges or dentures are created that can either be permanently affixed, or designed to snap on and off so they can be removed for cleaning, but firmly stay in place while worn. The implants help preserve jawbone structure, and the restorations themselves are much more attractive and durable than conventional bridges and dentures.
Studies show that dental implants have a 95% success rate after five to seven years (compared with only 30% for the teeth supporting a fixed bridge). And implants look and function like natural teeth, allowing you to eat, speak, and smile with confidence.
If you currently have bridgework or missing teeth that need replacing, contact us now for a dental implant consultation or visit our website for more information.
Our doctors speak out about dental implants.
A short discussion on implants, and how they can be used to replace one or more missing teeth.