Getting Your Smile Back: Why Implants Are Vital For Patients With Missing Teeth

If you've recently suffered oral trauma that caused you to lose several teeth, you may be afraid your mouth will never feel or look normal again. Fortunately, the solution to your problem may be dental implants -- permanent prosthetic teeth that look and feel just like real ones. In fact, for many people with missing teeth, getting dental implants is very important.

Why Are Dental Implants So Important For Missing Teeth?

Missing teeth can not only make eating and speaking difficult, but can also have a serious impact on your self-confidence and long term oral health. If you're considering prosthetic teeth, dental implants are uniquely qualified for two reasons:

Implants are the most similar to real teeth of all tooth replacements.

Implants are cleaned via brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, just like normal teeth. They never need to come out of your mouth, and you never have to apply glues or special cleaners to keep them looking their best. Functionally, there is no difference between a prosthetic implant tooth and a real one when it comes to oral hygiene.

With dental implants, you can eat and drink as you normally would without avoiding certain types of food that are dangerous for dentures, crowns, and fillings. You may even be able to eat foods you previously couldn't if you had sensitive teeth, since implants won't hurt you when you eat or drink foods at extreme temperatures.

Best of all, implants look just like real teeth. Their precise, realistic molding and ability to sit naturally in your gums makes these prosthetics the most realistic option in terms of appearances.

You need implants to prevent further oral damage.

When you lose a tooth, the resulting empty gap can allow neighboring teeth to migrate and shift in your mouth. In extreme cases, the loss of many teeth can result in so much tooth drifting that eating and speaking become difficult or impossible. Teeth that drift at an angle are also more likely to accidentally chafe or cut your tongue throughout the day.

Moving or missing teeth can also change the shape of your face, causing your cheek shape to become asymmetrical and lending a slant to your jaw. Over time, this can result in further damage to the joints of your jaw bone. Missing teeth also lead to bone deterioration, further weakening the jaw. Removable dentures, while they may fill out the cheeks slightly, do nothing to reduce this bone loss.

Because implants are placed directly into the jaw bone itself, they promote healing bone growth the same way your adult teeth do. They also provide a permanent solution to slanted jaws, misaligned bites, and sunken cheeks caused by missing teeth. Implants also reduce the risk of bone infections and painful conditions like dry socket by covering up the hole where a missing tooth used to be.

What If Not All Missing Teeth Can Be Replaced?

In some cases, not all of the empty sockets for missing teeth may be viable hosts for a dental implant. A certain amount of jaw thickness is required for a new implant to be inserted, and attempting the surgery on too thin or weak of a jaw area is typically not recommended. This problem is especially common in cases where teeth were lost due to serious trauma or when the patient suffers from a bone-weakening disease like osteoporosis. Fortunately, implants can still help patients even if they cannot replace all teeth individually.

As long as several anchor implants can still be placed, weaker areas can be protected with a bridge of prosthetic teeth that spans the area where teeth are missing without every tooth being anchored to the jaw. This serves to return a normal appearance to the teeth, protect the empty sockets, maintain a proper distance between implanted prosthetics, and mitigate some bone loss in the patient's jaw.

Whether you've recently lost two teeth or twenty, you may be able to regain your oral health and self-confidence with the help of prosthetic dental implants. If you want to keep your mouth in good shape, contact your dentist as soon as possible to ask about whether or not implants are right for you.

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