Tooth loss is a lot more common than many people think. Data show about half the adult population in the United States is missing at least one tooth, and many people are missing several.
Tooth loss isn't just for older people either. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says people from 20 to 64 years old have an average of 25.5 teeth out of their original 32.
Until recently, dentures and bridges were the only options for treating missing teeth. While both options play important roles in restoring oral health and function, they have some shortcomings.
At Austin Advanced Dentistry, Aditi Saxena, DDS, offers another option for patients at her Austin, Texas, practice: state-of-the-art dental implants. In this post, learn more about the benefits of dental implants so you can decide if they're a good choice for you.
While both dentures and bridges rest on top of your gums, dental implants take a different approach — one that’s more like your own natural teeth. Implants use a durable metal post that’s embedded in your jaw. The post is attached to an artificial tooth or crown, replacing the one (or ones) you’re missing.
Because implants are designed to mimic the root-and-crown structure of a natural tooth, they offer several key benefits compared to dentures and bridges.
If you opt for a bridge or denture, you'll adjust to how they feel over time. But they won't be as comfortable or natural-feeling as a dental implant.
Implants are designed to look, fit, feel, and function like a natural tooth. As a result, they're more comfortable than other tooth replacement options, and that's one big reason why so many people prefer them.
Dentures need regular adjustments to ensure they fit properly. Even a minor change in position can cause your dentures to loosen, rub, and cause sore spots in your gum tissue. These spots aren't just painful — they can also lead to bacterial and fungal infections.
Because they're secured in your jawbone, implants don't need adjustments. They also won't rub or cause sore sports like dentures.
Dentures are notorious for slipping, and they almost always slip when you're talking or eating with company. You can help decrease slippage by adjusting your dentures regularly, but you can only partially prevent slippage.
The strong posts used in dental implants eliminate the risk of slippage. That means you can eat and speak confidently, whether by yourself or with friends and family.
Dentures and bridges both require specific care routines to keep them clean and in good shape. Permanent bridges also require learning new brushing and flossing techniques to clean around the bridge clips or attachments.
Dental implants are cared for just like your natural teeth. With implants, you maintain your regular brushing and flossing routine and visit our office twice yearly for checkups — just like with natural teeth.
Your teeth depend on a healthy jawbone to stay secure and healthy. Like other bones, your jawbone is continually being replaced. That replacement cycle depends on the presence of tooth roots to act as stimuli.
When you're missing a tooth, the root is gone, too — and that means the replacement cycle stops, leaving you with thin, weak areas in your jaw. When the bone thins out, it provides less support to neighboring teeth, dramatically increasing the risk of additional tooth loss in the future.
Because dentures and bridges rest on top of your gums, they don't affect the bone replacement cycle, so they can't prevent bone loss and thinning. On the other hand, the posts used in dental implants act as "root substitutes," securing the artificial crown while also helping to perpetuate bone replacement. That means your jaw bones can stay healthier and stronger, and you can avoid additional tooth loss.
Dental implants are the preferred option for many patients, but regardless of whether you opt for implants, bridges, or dentures, know this: It's critically important to replace missing teeth to restore your bite function and balance and prevent more serious problems from developing.
To learn more about dental implants and how they can help you restore your oral health and confidence, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Austin Advanced Dentistry today.