Dental implants are a popular and effective way of replacing missing teeth, but did you know the benefits of dental implants include numerous health and well-being advantages? More about that later, but first, let’s take a quick look at what a dental implant means.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is made from titanium (a metal compatible with the human body) and serves as the replacement for the root of a tooth. The implant is placed in the jawbone and allowed to heal for several months. During this time, the implant bonds with the bone. Then, a small connector post—an abutment—is placed on top of the implant. An artificial tooth (crown) is attached to the abutment completing the dental implant procedure.
There is no doubt that in terms of how they look, feel and function that dental implants are unrivalled when compared to other tooth replacements, but their other benefits are what make them a better option for many people. Let’s take a look.
Benefits of Dental Implants
1. Preventing bone loss/Preserving bone
One of the most significant drawbacks of tooth loss is that bone begins to recede around the empty socket of the missing tooth. This occurs naturally and is the body’s response to healing. Healthy teeth roots stimulate the bone to produce new cells that strengthen the bone. Because a dental implant acts the same way as a tooth root, it helps to maintain healthy bone by encouraging ossification that prevents further bone loss.
2. Supporting facial structure
Bone loss in the alveolar ridge (the part of the jawbone that holds the teeth) is bad news. The ridge forms the underlying support for the soft facial tissues around the mouth. When bone loss occurs, the density of the bone is compromised—and the skin, without support, begins to sag. This changes the shape of the face and creates an aged, sunken appearance around the mouth. As implants preserve bone health, it is one of the significant benefits of dental implants if you want to maintain a youthful appearance.
3. Maintaining gum health
Dental implants may be more beneficial to gum health than other tooth replacement choices. They have a smaller surface area than dentures or bridges and are easier to keep clean, limiting the surfaces where bacteria accumulate and helping to protect the gums.
4. Do not compromise healthy teeth
Some tooth replacement procedures, such as dental bridges, require that healthy teeth on either side of a gap are modified to accommodate a dental crown. These teeth then support a bridge that covers the gap. A dental implant is supported by the jawbone and doesn’t detrimentally affect any other teeth.
5. Maintaining your bite
If you lose a tooth and don’t replace it, the surrounding teeth will gradually move into the empty space. This has a knock-on effect on all the teeth leading to malocclusion problems that cause you to hold your jaw differently, adjusting your bite to the new position of the teeth.
This can be problematic in several ways. Firstly, it may be difficult to clean your teeth effectively, leading to decay. Secondly, if the jaw is held in a different position, it may alter the shape of your face and, finally, it may strain the jaw joints leading to temporomandibular disorder (TMJ). Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant means there is no space for the other teeth to move into, so your bite will remain the same.
6. Healthier eating
Dental implants aren’t invincible, but they are strong and stable. Compared to dentures that can be uncomfortable and slip, patients can eat a whole range of foods that are difficult when wearing dentures. Corn on the cob, ribs and crunchy apples won’t be a problem, and there won’t be an issue with nuts or seeds causing discomfort if they get stuck behind a palate!
7. Improving Your Smile
Many people who have missing teeth are embarrassed to smile. This can make them feel self-conscious and affects their self-esteem. One of the benefits of dental implants is that they look like natural teeth and can return a smile to its former glory, giving patients back their confidence.
8. Dental implants are long-lasting
Maintaining healthy teeth requires a regular twice-daily hygiene routine, supplemented with check-ups at the dentist as often as they recommend. It is precisely the same for dental implants.
They do not need special care and attention—just regular brushing and flossing like you would with natural teeth, supplemented by regular dental check-ups.
With the proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime.
9. Easy to care for
Dental implants are easy to care for, unlike dentures that have to be taken out at night and soaked—and even rinsed after mealtimes to remove debris that may become stuck in the palate. You can forget that a dental implant is not a natural tooth. There is no hassle of removing it to clean, nor will it rub the gums or tongue as dentures may.
10. Help You Speak Better
Sometimes, tooth replacement options can affect speech as it takes a while to get used to having a new appliance in your mouth. With dentures, for example, you will have to get used to moving your tongue around them to form the correct sounds—and this may take some getting used to. You shouldn’t have any such problems with your speech with a dental implant. It is, after all, replacing your tooth on a like-for-like basis.
Dental implants replace missing teeth on a like-for-like basis. Now you know the benefits of dental implants, why not schedule an appointment with one of our No Gaps dentists to find out if you are a good candidate for a dental implant procedure. Call us now on (02) 8007 6727.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Colgate: Bone resorption: why it happens and what to do next
Healthline: Malocclusion of the teeth
Mayo Clinic: TMJ disorders