Some people are lucky and have perfect teeth their whole life. Their pearly whites that have the ideal spacing and are remarkably cavity-free. Others find they don’t have many cavities showing up during early checkups but then need braces during their teenage years. For a number of individuals, it seems that each visit to the dentist means some drilling and filling is required. Life’s luck, your genes and perhaps the food and drink you favor seems to all come together to determine your dental future in life.
As you age, some of the early repair work begins to give out. Rather than redoing the original expensive procedure a patient may opt to have the tooth taken out. It doesn’t seem like much when it happens to the first tooth, although there are hidden things you should consider. But when an additional tooth or two succumbs to the same fate it’s time to look into permanent solutions to the problem of missing teeth.
How Dental Implants Work
Dental implants are designed to mimic the natural mechanisms and functions of your regular teeth. Basically, the implant is like the root of a natural tooth. It is anchored in your jawbone where it attaches and bonds with your bone. From there an abutment is attached to this screw-like device.
The abutment functions as a connector between the implant and the artificial tooth, also known as a crown. Crowns are custom-designed to fit perfectly and match the other teeth in your mouth. They provide full functionality for chewing and all the things you do with your regular teeth.
Protect Against Bone Loss
One of the things that most people don’t know is that losing a tooth has potential side effects. If you have one of your molars extracted and you don’t replace the missing molar you can suffer bone loss and your jawbone can even deteriorate. An implant anchored into your jaw actually promotes bone growth and prevents further bone loss over time.
Bone needs a form of constant stimulation in order to rebuild and keep healthy. In the mouth, the teeth provide the stimulation that the jaw needs. When a tooth is taken out that area gets no activity and the bone can actually begin to resorb and actually melt away. Getting an implant soon after losing a tooth disrupts this negative process and keeps your jaw healthy.
Avoid Damage to Nearby Teeth
Before the arrival of dental implants there were a couple of tried-and-true options for filling in the gaps from missing teeth. One of these was to create a dental bridge with an artificial tooth that was attached to the surrounding molars. This dental structure served to fill in the gap so nothing was missing when you smiled or chewed.
Unfortunately, this solution also had some drawbacks. First, no tooth was actually anchored in the bone. Secondly, in order to attach the bridge, the two teeth on either side of the missing molar had to be ground down so they could support the new dental bridge. This in effect stressed and weakened two more teeth and also left them open to future decay. With an implant there is no damage to nearby teeth.
If you want to continue to have lifelong dental health, it’s a good idea to get follow up treatment when you lose one of your natural teeth. With dental implants you can fill the gap in your teeth, restore full functionality and help prevent future bone loss too.