Is your smile missing something? If you look in the mirror and see gaps in your smile, let’s talk about replacing your missing teeth with a dental implant.
Missing a Tooth?
If you’re missing a tooth, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by age 17, 7 percent of people in the United States have lost at least one permanent tooth as a result of tooth decay.
Data from the CDC also indicate that of adults between the ages of 35 and 44, nearly 70 percent have lost at least one permanent tooth. By age 50, American adults have lost an average of 12 teeth (including their wisdom teeth). And among adults age 65 to 74, 26 percent have lost all their teeth.
Causes of Missing Teeth
The most common cause of missing teeth is tooth decay or periodontal disease. Other causes include trauma, genetic disorders, medications, tumors, cysts, infection and congenital defects.
Is Tooth Loss Serious?
Yes. It may not seem like a big deal, but the loss of a tooth can be very serious because it affects how we eat, speak and even smile. It can also affect our self-esteem and overall health.
Some consequences of losing a tooth include:
- Difficulty chewing food or biting into hard foods such as apples, carrots and nuts
- An inability to chew gum properly
- A change in speech patterns
- Decreased ability to clean your teeth
- Increased risk of infections in other parts of your mouth
- Increased risk for jaw problems, including TMJ disorders (jaw pain) and arthritis
- Inability to wear dentures comfortably
- Poor appearance
- Reduced confidence
- Discomfort when smiling
- Risk of bone loss around the roots of remaining teeth
Why Does Tooth Loss Impact Confidence?
When we lose a tooth, we often feel embarrassed about what others might think of us. We may worry that people will notice the gap between our two front teeth or that they’ll notice our crooked smile.
Tooth loss can also convey that you’re not healthy and that’s why you’ve lost a tooth.
It can also impact your self-confidence. When you lose a tooth, you may feel less attractive and confident about yourself. You may find yourself avoiding social situations where you know you’ll need to show off your smile. Some people also report avoiding job interviews, pictures or dating because of the state of their smile.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. A dental implant can help you get back on track for a great-looking smile.
Dental Implants: The Missing Link
A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a natural tooth root. It looks like a small screw or cylinder of titanium that’s placed into the jawbone where a tooth would normally go. Once the implant heals, it becomes part of your mouth just like any other tooth.
Implants can be the single-implant type in which one implant is used to replace one missing tooth. Single-tooth implants are great to help fill in your smile. Other tooth-replacement options like dental bridges require removal of some of your adjacent teeth’s enamel.
Dental implants can also be used when there are several teeth missing in a row. This type of implant is called a “multi-unit” implant. With multi-unit implants, multiple implants are used to support each individual tooth. These types of implants are more expensive than single implants, but they provide better stability and strength than traditional bridge restorations.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
When you lose a tooth, the bone around that area shrinks. A dental implant replaces the tooth root and provides a foundation for new bone growth. This process helps keep the surrounding bone healthy and strong.
The first step of getting a dental implant is the post, which is surgically implanted into the gums. After the implant is installed, the gums heal over it and form a protective seal. Over time, the bone grows around the implant and eventually fuses with it.
Once the implant has been integrated into the jawbone, the dentist will place a crown over it to give it a beautiful appearance. Your new tooth should feel comfortable and look natural.
Can Dental Implants Be Combined With Other Treatments?
Yes. Dental implants are often used in smile makeovers in combination with other treatments. For example, if you have a large gap between your upper and lower teeth, a dental implant can be combined with porcelain veneers to cover up the space. In addition, a dental implant can be used as a base for a fixed partial denture (bridge).
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Anyone who needs a tooth-replacement solution is a good candidate for dental implants. If you’re missing one or more teeth, this treatment option could improve your oral health and overall quality of life.
If you’ve had a recent loss due to trauma, infection or decay, dental implants can restore your smile quickly and easily. They can also help prevent future problems by strengthening the bones around your remaining teeth.
Considering a dental implant? Call us now to schedule a consultation.