Traditionally, missing teeth were replaced with dentures or a fixed bridge, depending on which teeth were missing and how many. With the advancement of dental technology and materials, dental implants are now becoming the gold standard for replacing missing teeth, and for good reason. Dental implants not only look more like natural teeth, they are better for your oral health in subtle, but important, ways.
Cascading Problems Caused by Missing Teeth
When you are missing teeth, there are several problems that can develop over time, if they are not replaced. You need your molars to properly chew your food into small pieces, so it can be digested easily. Smaller pieces of food also provide more nourishment for your body. If you have several back teeth missing, you have lost precious chewing surface.
Front teeth are used for tearing food. When these are missing, not only do you have trouble biting into certain foods, but your smile is also affected. When you feel self-conscious about your smile, it can have a negative impact on your self-confidence. Additionally, it can affect other people’s perception of you.
The space left from missing teeth also causes problems. Those teeth adjacent to the space may start to move out of alignment as they slowly try to compensate. They may lean into the space, creating food traps and places where plaque can build up. This creates areas where gum disease or tooth decay is more likely to develop. Missing teeth affect your appearance in other ways, too.
Your Appearance Matters
When one or more teeth are missing, your appearance can change. All your teeth provide support and structure for your cheeks and lips. When teeth are missing, that support goes missing as well. The more teeth you have missing, the more collapsed your face looks. Over time, the bone also begins to shrink. This causes you to look older. Fortunately, dental implants can help with these problems.
Restored Dental Health and Self-Confidence
The traditional method of replacing teeth has its merits; however, dental implants are superior for many reasons. In the matter of oral health, the implants keep the bone healthy. Because the implants take the place of missing tooth roots, they stimulate the bone and keep it from shrinking. Healthy bone and the tooth structure keep your appearance looking youthful.
Dental implants also look more like natural teeth. Partial dentures often require metal clasps so they can be held in place. They can break or become dislodged; this is true for full dentures as well. Dental bridges are fixed, but they can have an artificial look.
When one or two teeth need to be replaced, the dental implant works beautifully as a replacement. For patients needing dentures, implant supported dentures are far superior to traditional dentures. When dentures are supported by implants, they do not become dislodged when you are eating, talking, laughing or any other time. Implant supported dentures eliminate all the headaches of wearing dentures.
Be sure to check out our blog next month as we go into more detail about the implant process. Call us if you have missing teeth and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wang.