How Dental Bridges and Implants Can Help You
Implants provide versatile, long-term treatments for missing teeth.
Teeth may seem like an ordinary part of your everyday life, but they’re surprisingly powerful. A smile has the power to cheer the people around you, it impacts others’ impressions of you, and helps you build relationships. Your teeth also have a vital role in helping you to eat and speak properly, so losing a tooth can impact your life in multiple ways. It makes once-simple tasks harder, can decrease your self-confidence, and has the potential to harm your oral health. Thankfully, dental implants allow you to restore the function and appearance of your teeth while protecting your future health.
Dental implants are titanium rods that are secured in your jaw bone to take on the role of your lost tooth’s natural root. While a porcelain crown is often secured on top of a dental implant to replace a single missing tooth, implants can also support bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. As a result, implants are versatile enough to fit a diverse range of treatment needs. They also protect your oral health better than any other tooth replacement option, making them the best treatment when you’ve lost a tooth. Here’s how implants and implant-supported bridges can help you.
Dental implants protect your remaining teeth.
Unfortunately, the gap left behind by missing teeth isn’t completely harmless. If it isn’t filled, your remaining teeth begin to spread out over time to fill it, which can cause a wide range of issues. Having more of a gap between your teeth makes it harder to floss and brush them properly, increasing your likelihood of getting cavities or gum disease—both of which can cause you to lose more teeth if they go untreated. Even seemingly small shifts in your teeth can impact the way your bite fits together, which can make chewing food awkward or result in TMJ pain. By filling this gap, dental implants keep your teeth from shifting, preventing these issues from occurring in the first place.
Additionally, dental implants replace missing teeth without requiring your healthy teeth to undergo any dental treatments. Traditional bridges, for example, replace one or two missing teeth by placing crowns on the healthy teeth next to the gap. While traditional bridges are certainly an effective and worthwhile treatment for missing teeth, performing extensive work on otherwise healthy teeth isn’t ideal. It’s always best to keep as much of your natural tooth structure as possible. Since dental implants mimic natural tooth roots, they don’t need to be supported by the surrounding teeth. As a result, your natural teeth stay natural.
They revitalize the appearance of your smile.
The truth is that a missing tooth tends to be noticeable when you laugh or smile, so even losing a single tooth can impact how you feel about your smile or express yourself in public. The tooth restorations placed on top of dental implants are designed with this truth in mind. They’re made of porcelain, so they’re incredibly customizable. You can choose the size, shape, and shade of your new teeth, which helps them blend into your smile so naturally that no one will even know they’re there. This can have a huge impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence, transforming the way you carry yourself in public or even the way you think about yourself in private—a value that goes far beyond how other people might feel about your smile. It’s incredibly important that you love your smile and feel comfortable sharing it with others, and dental implants allow you to design a smile that will do just that.
They restore the function of your teeth.
Dental implants don’t just look great, though. They have the same deep-rooted stability as natural teeth, making them incredibly functional. Whether you have a single implant fitted with a crown or multiple supporting dentures, they function just like natural teeth. You don’t have to avoid certain foods or worry about your new teeth slipping or falling out of your mouth. They feel and function just like natural teeth, so you can simply enjoy eating all of your favorite foods and having fun, worry-free.
Just like natural teeth, however, porcelain has its limits—and they’re largely the same as the limits of natural teeth. Using your natural teeth or your tooth prosthesis to tear open packages, chew ice, or crack nuts can crack, chip, or break them. While the implant itself should be fine, you’ll likely end up needing a new crown or bridge if you damage it in this way. Since these limits are the same with natural teeth, however, dental implants really do provide the next best thing to regaining your natural teeth.
They protect against bone loss.
Your tooth roots hold your teeth securely in place and provide constant stimulation to your jaw bone. Without this stimulation, your body begins to reabsorb the bone in the area, causing low bone density. Over time, this process makes your jaw more susceptible to fractures and can lead to the stereotypical caved-in appearance of denture-wearers’ faces. Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that can prevent this.
The other options to replace missing teeth do prevent your teeth from shifting while restoring the function and appearance of your teeth, but they simply can’t address this deeper issue. Since implants take over the job of your natural tooth roots, they provide the stimulation that your jaw bone needs to stay healthy. In fact, titanium encourages bone growth; after the implant is placed, bone grows up around it, restoring some lost bone density and anchoring the implant more securely in place.
Dental implants provide lifelong benefits.
While other tooth replacement options need to be completely replaced due to wear and tear after a certain time, dental implants will last a lifetime with proper care. This care includes brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing and using mouthwash at least once a day, and visiting Dr. Farless or Dr. Locklear for an appointment every six months. The restoration on top of your dental implant will eventually need to be replaced due to wear and tear, but this is an easy process. The dental implant itself will continue to provide benefits for your oral and overall health for the rest of your life.
Implant-supported bridges replace multiple teeth on a budget.
Since traditional bridges are supported by two of your natural teeth, they’re usually used to replace one or two missing teeth. When you place a bridge on implants, however, the implants supporting the bridge are also replacing missing teeth. This allows implant-supported bridges to replace more teeth at once, usually between three and four. The dental implants lend just as much stability to the bridge as they do to tooth restorations like dental crowns, ensuring that your new teeth still look and feel completely natural. Additionally, since they require you to receive fewer implants to restore more teeth, they also tend to be less expensive. As a result, implant-supported bridges are a great option when you want the benefits of dental implants but need to replace multiple teeth on a budget. They offer a great balance that gives you the stability and long-term protection of dental implants at a more affordable price.
While you can’t turn back time and regain your lost teeth, dental implants provide the next best thing. They mimic natural tooth roots to give you the stability and sensation of natural teeth, can match your designs to blend into your smile, and are versatile enough to fit all of your treatment needs. Implant-supported bridges have all these benefits, but they allow you to replace multiple teeth in a way that protects you from bone loss without breaking the bank. If you’re interested in learning more about cosmetic dentistry in Greensboro, NC, or if you’d like to learn whether dental implants are right for you, feel free to call our family dentist to schedule an appointment at any time.