Hockey players aren’t the only people who suffer from missing teeth. The average American loses five permanent teeth between the ages of 20 and 64, and 70% of the US population has at least one tooth missing. Whether your tooth was knocked out in an overtime fight, slowly died due to decay or you simply were born missing teeth, there are now, even more, options when you are ready to fill in that perfect smile.
Dr. Gregory Allen Kerbel, DDS,
“Many people assume that losing a tooth won’t change your life significantly. But tooth loss can alter the way you eat, smile and talk. To make matters worse, since your jaw tissue only maintains its density when it is stimulated by normal chewing, losing a tooth can mean extensive bone loss, which will alter the shape of your jaw and the contours of your face. In fact, research has shown that people can lose as much as 25% of their dental ridge height within the first year after losing a tooth.”
This means that not only are the insides of the mouth affected by tooth loss, but the entire face shape can be structurally changed if teeth are not replaced with supportive root methods. As the bone loss progresses, the lower part of the face becomes smaller and makes the patient appear older than they are.
Crowns and bridges are popular replacements for missing teeth. They are made of various materials and designed in a lab to match your other teeth. Bridges have several disadvantages that include visible, metal rims, damage to nearby teeth during the procedure and shrinkage of the jaw bone and gums.
Dental implants not only replace the tooth as crowns and bridges do, but they also replace the root. This comprehensive procedure mimics the old tooth’s root structure and the titanium root integrates with the jaw bone which avoids grinding of the teeth and damage to the jaw bone and gums.
Dr. Kerbel says,
“Modern dental implants have an extremely high success rate, hovering near 100%. Unlike other restorations, which might not look natural or realistic, dental implants look completely life-like. Because dental implants are anchored firmly into the jaw, patients can continue to enjoy healthy foods, such as crunchy fruits and vegetables. Dental implant patients are frequently able to reap the benefits of a healthier diet than patients who opt for bridges or dentures.”
Other tooth replacement procedures are delicate and often don’t last very long. They place stress on the remaining teeth and do not provide bite support.
Another advantage of dental implants is their extreme durability; they have been known to last a lifetime for many patients. They are not a new, questionable fad. Implants have been researched and tested since their origin in 1965.
The science and technology of dental implants have come so far over the years that even patients with no teeth left at all, or those who need all of them pulled, can receive these implants. One of the advanced treatments involves only requiring four dental implants to restore an entire jaw of teeth.
After dental implants, someone who has suffered from missing teeth for any substantial amount of time will be amazed at how much something simple like a tooth has kept them from enjoying.