THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR MISSING TEETH
If you are missing one or more teeth, the right replacement option can help you reclaim your oral health, function, appearance, and self-esteem. In addition to consulting with your dentist, one of the best ways you can make an informed decision is to dive in and learn more about your treatment options. A dental implant restoration is one of your options for effectively replacing missing teeth. As you consider the replacement option that meets your needs, here are the top seven things you need to know about dental implants.
1. DENTAL IMPLANTS CAN REPLACE A SINGLE TOOTH OR MULTIPLE TEETH.
A dental implant restoration is an extremely versatile treatment option that can be customized to meet your individual needs. For a single tooth, one dental implant is used to support a custom-made dental crown. For multiple teeth or a full arch of teeth, two to eight implants are strategically placed to support a custom-made dental bridge or overdenture. In all cases, prosthetic teeth are tailored to complement your facial features and match the shape, shade, and sheen of any remaining natural teeth.
2. DENTAL IMPLANTS ACT AS A TOOTH ROOT SUBSTITUTE.
Natural teeth are literally more than skin deep. Beneath the gums, every tooth has a living root that is embedded into the part of the jawbone known as the alveolar ridge. Though they’re not visible, the roots actually make up about two-thirds of the tooth’s overall structure. In addition to allowing blood and nerve supply to enter the tooth, the roots function to securely anchor teeth in place and transfer the force of chewing throughout the jawbone. While other prosthetic teeth (like dentures and bridges) replace the visible part of the tooth (known as the crown), dental implants replicate the tooth’s entire structure, including the tooth root. This close replication is what gives dental implants their unique and desirable benefits.
3. DENTAL IMPLANTS MAINTAIN YOUR BONE HEALTH AND FACIAL STRUCTURE.
As natural teeth are an integral part of your bone structure, bone loss is one of the most undesirable long-term side effects of tooth loss. The bones of your body—including your jaws—are designed to respond to an array of normal mechanical demands and stresses (such as holding up your bodyweight as you resist the force of gravity). Not only are your bones designed to withstand these stresses; your bones actually like these stresses. Just as the positive stress of weight-bearing exercises supports your body’s overall bone health and density, the positive stress of chewing supports the health and density of your jawbones. Like a leg press for your jawbones, your natural teeth exert an average biting force of 171 pounds!
Tooth loss eliminates that positive stress, which causes the unstimulated jawbone to “shrink” and resorb into your body. As the alveolar ridges shrink vertically and horizontally, the lower third of your face will lose its structural support, resulting in a sunken appearance around your mouth and cheeks. This atrophy can even be accelerated by wearing dentures, which places unnatural pressure on the alveolar ridge while producing only a fraction of the stress needed to maintain bone health and density.
Because they replicate the positive mechanical stress of chewing and hold the space of missing teeth, dental implants can help you prevent bone loss and preserve the shape and structure of your mouth and face.
4. DENTAL IMPLANTS ARE STURDY.
Unlike any other tooth replacement options, dental implants actually become a part of your bone structure (called osseointegration). Once the titanium dental implant posts are surgically placed into the alveolar process, living bone will fuse to the dental implants, anchoring them securely in place. This creates a sturdy, reliable, and comfortable foundation for prosthetic teeth while eliminating the need for special denture adhesives.
5. DENTAL IMPLANTS RESTORE A SENSE OF NORMALCY.
Beyond a consistent daily oral hygiene routine and routine trips to the dentist’s office, natural teeth don’t require any thought from us when we chew, smile, and speak. In addition to impacting oral health and function, missing one or more teeth can create anxiety and feelings of self-consciousness when going about normal daily activities and social interactions. And while dentures do help restore some oral function, they can shift out of place and make it difficult to chew and speak comfortably.
Like natural teeth, dental implants don’t require any additional thought, worry, or preparation to go about your day and function normally. Through their trademark reliability, dental implants can help you free up mental space, experience a greater sense of normalcy, and restore your quality of living.
It should be noted that implants aren’t for everyone. For some, the process involved with implants is too risky to their already compromised overall health. For others, their dental anxiety is a factor. Choosing implants or dentures is a very personal decision, and we respect and support our patients in their choice. Patient preference and comfort is always our top priority, which is why we do offer dentures as another option for restoring function for those who have tooth loss.
6. DENTAL IMPLANT RESTORATIONS ARE REMARKABLY SUCCESSFUL.
Replacing one or several missing teeth is an investment that can elevate your life in multiple ways. With up to a 98% success rate, dental implants offer a reliable and satisfying long-term return on investment.
7. DENTAL IMPLANTS CAN BE FINANCED.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to seek and receive the care they need. Through CareCredit, you can get help to pay for your dental implant restoration with no interest or low monthly payments.* CareCredit is a health and wellness credit card that you can use to pay for out-of-pocket expenses that aren’t covered by your medical or dental insurance. Offering shorter and longer-term financing options, CareCredit can be adapted to meet your individual situation, so you can receive the dental care you want and need.
No matter where you are in your quest to replace one or more missing teeth, Bela Family Dentistry of Sandhills is here to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, explain your options, and help you find the most viable choice for your unique needs. To schedule an informational tooth-replacement consultation with Dr. Guerriero, contact our office today.
*Subject to credit approval and adherence to CareCredit’s terms and conditions.