When you are missing a single tooth or multiple teeth, one of the top priorities on your list should be to seek out options for tooth replacement. This is because severe oral health issues could develop over time if you choose not to replace your missing teeth. Your Fairfield, California area dentist, may offer many options to choose from, including dental bridges, dentures, and dental implants.
While a dental bridge or denture does have benefits, a dental implant from Dr. Cheng Zhu and the team at Freedom Dental offers specific benefits these other options cannot match. Let’s look more into tooth loss, the problems it can present, and how a dental implant can effectively prevent these issues from occurring.
When you have missing teeth, it can lead to cosmetic and functional problems. If your missing tooth is in the visible “smile zone,” then you will likely be more concerned about restoring the appearance of your smile. If the missing tooth is a molar, it could present functional issues, including proper chewing. However, even outside of function and appearance, missing teeth can lead to more serious oral health complications down the line.
When a gap is created in your smile due to missing teeth, the teeth on both sides of the newly created gap can shift and angle inward. As these teeth shift in, the problem can worsen as it allows more room for other teeth to shift and move. What results is a smile that doesn’t function well, is hard to keep clean, and is misaligned. Getting a tooth replacement in place to fill the gap can prevent these issues from occurring.
Another issue you will likely encounter is the degeneration of your jawbone. Every natural tooth in your mouth has a root that extends down into your jaw. When you chew or put force on a tooth, the stimulation from this runs down into the root and spreads into the jaw. This stimulation is critical to the health of your jaw. When you lose teeth, this stimulation is lost, and your jawbone will begin to degenerate and be reabsorbed back into the body over time. This results in a weakened jawbone and an aged, sunken facial appearance.
As mentioned, dental bridges, dentures, and implants are the most popular forms of teeth replacement. Dental bridges and dentures effectively fill the gap in your smile so that teeth do not shift or angle inward, and you have a fully functional smile, allowing you to chew and eat the foods you want (although you may find certain limitations).
However, because both tooth replacement options rest on the gumline, you are only replacing half of your missing tooth. A dental implant is the only tooth replacement option that replaces the tooth both above and below the gumline. This makes a dental implant the only option that can preserve your jawbone’s health.
When learning about dental implants, there is an essential term that you should know and understand – osseointegration. Osseointegration occurs once the dental implant has been surgically inserted into the jawbone, and the jawbone begins fusing and bonding with the implant. This creates a strong anchor for the implant and will also allow the implant to provide the stimulation needed for the jawbone to stay healthy.