When it comes to tooth loss, Americans seem to excel at it. Approximately 120 million adults have lost at least a single tooth, and millions of them are missing all of their teeth. Fortunately, dental technology has progressed enough that you have a number of options to replace them.
At the dental office of Dr. William M. Schneider in Walnut Creek, California, we have over 25 years’ experience using dental implants. We highly recommend them to our patients looking for a natural-looking but also durable solution to missing teeth.
Here’s what you need to know about the lasting impact dental implants have on your oral health.
What are my tooth replacement options?
If you’re missing just one or a few teeth, your options include a dental bridge and partial denture. If you’re missing all your teeth, you can get a full set of dentures.
What these options have in common is that they all need to be replaced. Bridges and full dentures may last 10 years, with partial dentures giving you 15 years at most.
Another option, which can work for a single tooth, multiple teeth, or a full arch’s worth, is the dental implant.
Dental implant basics
A more permanent solution to tooth replacement, dental implants are the closest in form and function to your natural teeth.
First, Dr. Schneider inserts the implant, a biocompatible titanium post, within the bone socket of the missing tooth. Over the next few months, the jaw heals, growing around the post and anchoring it in the bone. During this time, you wear a temporary crown to fill the gap.
After the implant has fused with your jaw, Dr. Schneider attaches a small connector post (abutment) to the post, which supports the crown or removable artificial tooth placed above it.
Instead of one or more dental crowns, some patients prefer a removable denture that snaps on the abutment. Dr. Schneider matches the color of the crown or denture to your natural teeth.
Benefits of dental implants
Patients who choose to get dental implants are highly satisfied with them because they offer many advantages over other tooth replacement options.
With dental implants, you can replace any number of teeth with crown-topped implants. We can also use the implanted root to secure removable dentures in place to help prevent common slipping and sliding issues.
They keep your gums and remaining teeth healthy
When you lose a tooth and don’t replace it, the remaining teeth begin to move into the gap. The result is a misaligned bite that increases your risk of a tooth fracture while you chew.
And as your teeth shift, your gums pull away from the tooth roots, creating pouches where bacteria collect. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Dental implants prevent the shift, allowing your teeth and gums to remain healthy, as long as you practice good oral hygiene.
They help your jaw stay strong
The biting surfaces of your teeth provide more than just a place to chew; they help stimulate and maintain the growth of healthy bone tissue in your jaw. When you don’t replace missing teeth, your jaw structure weakens and loses mass, resulting in the potential loss of other teeth.
Since dental implants provide both a root and a biting surface, they actively support bone growth and strengthen the underlying jaw.
They last a lifetime
Dental implants can last a lifetime, as long as you practice good oral hygiene, including visiting the dentist for checkups twice a year. The only caveat is that the crown on top of the post may need to be replaced every 10-15 years because of normal wear-and-tear.
Do you have missing teeth and are wondering if you’re a good candidate for a dental implant? Give Dr. Schneider’s office a call at 925-935-2700 or schedule a consultation online.