Why Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants?

dental implants

Should I Replace Missing Teeth?

Unfortunately, sooner or later, everyone of us will loose one or more teeth for some reason. If you have several missing teeth, you will not be able to eat properly, speak clearly or even smile as you would.

Losing one tooth, may not be considered by many people as a major problem, unless it is one of the front teeth affecting their appearance. But many dental implant dentists insist that if you do not immediately replace every single missing tooth with a dental implant, you will be at a higher risk of losing more teeth some time later.

Why Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants?

It is expected that most people will lose one or more teeth due to a dental disease, tooth decay or gum disease.

Even those who take good care of their teeth with daily oral hygiene, may eventually lose a tooth due to an accidental mouth injury or due to simple daily wear in older age.

If someone is missing several teeth, it is obvious that beyond the aesthetic problems will also have problems in eating and speaking properly.

Missing teeth can affect:

  • Appearance - Even if a single front tooth is missing, it can seriously affect the person's appearance, self esteem and social life. With today's standards in developed countries it is not socially expected to show a missing tooth when talking or smiling. Dental implants do not only look but also feel much closer to natural teeth than any other alternative.
  • Eating - Missing several teeth can reduce the ability to eat certain food groups, resulting in bad nutrition and poor quality of life. Dental implants restore the full functionality of your mouth, and you can return to your favorite diet enjoying life just like with natural teeth.
  • Speaking - The absence of one or more teeth can disturb your speech, cause a lisp and change the way your voice sounds. Dental implants feel like regular teeth without causing the speech problems that are common when teeth are missing or dentures are used, especially removable ones.

Why Replace every Missing Tooth with a Dental Implant?

Dentists recommend that even a single missing tooth has to be replaced with dental implants. Many patients will follow the advice only if the missing one is a front tooth and mainly for aesthetic reasons. Dentists insist that every missing tooth has to be replaced because the following problems may occur:

  • Adjacent teeth movement - The mouth structure is strong because each tooth supports the ones next to it. If a tooth is lost this lateral support is lost and adjacent teeth may shift towards the empty space and by time they will become loose and fall out.
  • Jaw bone loss - The pressure of tooth roots into the jawbone provides a stimulus to bone cells that keeps them from dissolving away, due to what is called piezoelectric effect. If the root is missing the bone cells in the area start to die and the bone is dissolved. If several or all teeth are missing, the process may result in dramatic loss of jaw bone causing conditions described as jaw shrinkage and facial collapse. This is what gives a caved in look at the faces of some people and makes them look much older than they really are.

    The major problem of bone loss, beyond the apparent aesthetic ones, is that any remaining teeth will eventually become loose and fall out, and that dentures will be hard to fit because there will be not enough bone to support them. Dental implants can act as the natural tooth roots providing the necessary pressure to the bone and preventing further bone loss.

Available Options for Replacing Missing Teeth

Several options are available for substituting the function of missing teeth such as dental bridges, partial or full dentures, and lately dental implants. All other classic alternative methods for restoring lost teeth such as dental bridges and dentures have several disadvantages compared to dental implants. Dental bridges can prevent the adjacent teeth from shifting but they can not stop bone loss. Only dental implants can prevent bone loss caused by missing teeth.

The cost of dental implants is higher than other alternatives, either bridges or dentures. But if you want to restore the aesthetics, functionality and feeling of your missing teeth, dental implants are the only solution that can provide them all. They are the closest you can get to natural teeth. Even if you miss many or all teeth and you can not afford to replace all missing teeth with dental implants, you can still take advantage of some of their benefits with solutions such as implant supported dentures, using a small number of denture implants.

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Last update: 01/01/2017