Smiling is good for the soul but many people are self-conscious about their smile if they have cricked or missing teeth. Losing teeth is actually a common problem. This doesn’t mean you should just let your mouth be. Missing teeth could affect your bite, put more stress on your jaw and could even cause gum disease.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 69% of adults around the ages of 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth.
For those missing teeth, or needing teeth replaced, there are three cosmetic options to fix the problem—dentures, bridges and implants. Though dentures and bridges used to be the go-to replacements for tooth loss, modern technology has made dental implants an increasingly popular choice.
Around 3 million people get implants each year, which is a total of 5.5 million implants, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. This number is expected to grow by 500,000 implants per year from now on. Implants are a good choice for most people, for a variety of reasons.
1. No Creams or Gels
Implants are attached to the jaw bone by placing titanium posts into the cavity where the tooth’s roots once were. Once implanted, the bone grows around the post and connects to it, making the implant firmly attached to the jaw. There is no need to worry about applying sticky creams or gels to hold them in place like dentures.
2. Dental Implants Don’t Rest on Gums
Dentures rest on the gums. This can cause friction when a person talks or eats because the dentures rub against the gums when they are not firmly attached or well fitting. Friction from dentures can often lead to mouth ulcers and white patches on gums. Since implants are fused to the jawbone and do not rest on the gums, users do not have this problem.
3. Natural Teeth Aren’t Anchors
Fixed bridges are attached to other teeth to hold them in place. Fixed bridges can make supporting teeth susceptible to plaque build-up and other problems that may need an intervention in the form of a root canal. Implants do not rely on other teeth, making these problems less of an issue.
4. Teeth Aren’t Altered
Dental bridges require natural teeth to be filed to nubs so that they can anchor false teeth. This means that instead of just one tooth being replaced, often three teeth would be replaced with a bridge. Adding implants to a patient’s mouth normally doesn’t affect healthy, natural teeth.
5. Implants Don’t Slip
Unlike dentures, implants stay in place no matter what the person is doing. The implants are attached like natural teeth since the post acts like the roots of natural teeth.
6. Eat What You Like
Anyone who has ever watched a cartoon about people with dentures has seen the character chomp down into an apple and leave their teeth embedded in the apple. While this is an exaggeration, it isn’t too far from the truth. Eating certain foods with dentures is very difficult. With implants, a person can bite into an apple or other foods without worrying about their teeth slipping out.
7. No Clicking Noise
Dentures tend to make an embarrassing clicking noise when a person talks or eats. This is because there is often not enough space for the false teeth inside of the mouth. Implants are quiet because they are just like regular teeth. They are placed in the natural position of the original tooth, so it acts like a natural tooth.
8. Clean Implants Like Regular Teeth
There’s no soaking. Once the implant area has healed, patients can brush their teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste. There is no special care, though patients do need to practice a thorough cleaning regimen.
A proper regimen should be used for natural teeth anyway, so this won’t be a problem for most people. Regular dental checkups and cleanings, as one would with natural teeth, are the only care requirement other than brushing and flossing.
9. No Smell
Dentures tend to smell when not meticulously cleaned. Dentures can also cause halitosis when users don’t clean the gum area where the dentures rest on the gums inside of the mouth. Implant patients won’t have to worry about a denture smell with implants because users don’t need to go through a special cleaning program. Gentle flossing and brushing can rid an implant of any bacteria. Plus, there are no extra places for bacteria to grow.
10. Zero Bone Loss
Bone loss is often a common problem when it comes to missing teeth. Bone growth is maintained by the pressures of chewing. Since a bridge puts pressure onto the supporting teeth when the wearer chews, the area where the missing tooth once was is not receiving any chewing force.
Over time, the bone atrophies. Users don’t need to worry about that with implants because the chewing force is focused through the implant and into the bone where the tooth once was. This preserves the bone just like the natural tooth once did.
11. No Replacements
Most people don’t have time to get new dental appliances. Fixed bridges and removable dentures often need to be replaced every three to eight years. Implants are often long-term fixes to missing teeth. In fact, dental implants should last the rest of the user’s life with proper care.
12. The Natural Look
It is often easy to spot dentures, no matter how well they were created and fitted. This is not true of implants. Once the implant is placed in the mouth, the cosmetic dentist will shape it so that it looks like the original tooth, so it will completely blend in with all of the other teeth. No one will be able to tell the difference between the natural teeth and a replacement. This means no embarrassment and more confidence for the patient.
13. Refitting Is Not an Issue
With dentures, it often takes several fittings to find the right fit. This can take multiple visits to the dentist including lengthy measuring and testing. This leads to frustration.
Poorly fitting dentures can also lead to pain, along with problems chewing and talking. When an implant is placed, the dentist shapes the crown, the outer area of the implant, to look like a natural tooth. One that is complete, the patient doesn’t need to worry.
14. No Adjustment
Once the patient finally gets the correct fit for their dentures, they may not stay the perfect shape after being worn for a long period of time. Often, dentures can become loose and need adjusted. This is not a problem for patients with implants.
Once the bone has fused with the post, the implant is stable. It won’t shift or change shape. After the healing process is complete, you can be sure that the implant will be problem free in most cases.
15. No Saliva Problems
Dentures often cause wearers to have excessive saliva production. When a person has a foreign object in their mouth, the body naturally reacts by producing extra saliva. This is often a messy and annoying problem that can last for months until the patient gets used to his or her new dentures. Sometimes, the body reacts in the opposite way.
Some patients experience dry mouth after getting new dentures. This problem is often simply solved by drinking more water. Even so, some find this side effect a nuisance. Since the body tends to view implants as natural teeth, this isn’t an issue for many patients.
16. Lower Costs
Implants can ultimately be more affordable than other procedures to replace missing teeth. When upfront costs are compared, implants can seem more expensive than bridges or dentures. When long-term upkeep costs for bridges and dentures are considered, though, implants can often be the more affordable choice. This is because implants do not need refitting, special dental appointments, special pastes, cleaning tools or extra care that is beyond the care one would give natural teeth.
A cosmetic dentist will be able to give Phoenix, Glendale and Peoria area patients more information on how to get cosmetic dentistry using implants. Since overall mouth health is a big determining factor, the dentist will consult with the patient to determine if implants are an option after a thorough checkup.
Missing teeth should no longer be a problem. If you would like to look and feel better, then dental implants may be the answer. Patients with implants find that after the procedure, they are free to live as they normally would without the problems that are presented by other tooth replacement procedures. Contact our Glendale office today for a dental implant consultation or to learn more about our complete dental implant package!