The Impact of Tooth Loss
Tooth loss is a serious issue that affects the majority of people at some point during their lives. It can have a real impact on your quality of life, whether you’re missing all of your teeth or just a few. There are long-term health impacts of tooth loss that can cause your oral health to deteriorate over time.
However, there are also solutions available. A variety of dentistry procedures could be the right choice to restore your smile. Treatment options, such as dental implants, can help you avoid these common problems associated with tooth loss.
1. Jawbone Density Loss
Tooth loss isn’t just about the appearance of your smile. Missing teeth cause serious health effects as well. One of the most common is the tendency of remaining natural teeth to shift into the gap left behind, causing orthodontic issues. However, there is also the long-term health risk of jawbone density loss.
Healthy tooth roots provide stimulation to the jawbone. When you lose a tooth, those roots are no longer present in the socket. This leads to jawbone deterioration over time. The bone can weaken and shrink—this is the cause of the sunken facial appearance in patients who have lived with missing teeth for years.
Many tooth replacement options don’t address this issue. A dental bridge can restore the appearance of your smile and even prevent orthodontic issues by stopping teeth from sliding into the gap left by the missing tooth. However, it doesn’t provide any stimulation for the jawbone. Dentures sit on top of the gums, so they don’t stimulate the jawbone either.
Dental implants are embedded in the jawbone to provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth. This provides the same kind of stimulation as a tooth’s roots. Dental implants are the most effective tooth replacement option for your long-term oral health because they prevent the loss of jawbone density.
2. Chewing and Biting Ability
One of the most serious issues caused by missing teeth is the inability to chew and bite naturally. You might find yourself unable to enjoy a full range of foods. This is true even with dentures, which can be restrictive when it comes to the foods you’re able to eat.
This problem isn’t just about missing out on your favorite foods either. It also poses a serious health risk. With a lack of variety, you’re more likely to miss out on essential nutrients. The inability to chew properly can also lead to digestive issues, further hampering your ability to absorb nutrients from your food.
Those digestive issues can also include acid reflux, which can further damage your remaining natural teeth. Because even one missing tooth can affect your chewing, acid reflux can be an issue even if you still have the majority of your natural teeth. It can increase the acidity in your mouth, greatly increasing the risk of tooth decay.
Tooth implants let you bite and chew naturally. Dental implants use your jawbone as a foundation, unlike dentures that sit on the gums. This means you essentially have full bite strength and that stability enables you to chew easily and thoroughly.
When it comes to tooth replacement solutions, instability is one of the biggest challenges to overcome. Dental bridges achieve stability by requiring crowns over two natural teeth. However, this means removing enamel from those teeth, and if you’re missing most or all of your teeth, bridges aren’t an option.
Many patients struggle with instability when using traditional dentures. Even with dental adhesives, they can slip or budge at inopportune times. This affects eating and speaking and can impact your overall self-confidence.
Dental implants solve this problem by providing an incredibly strong foundation. The implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material that undergoes osseointegration. This means that the dental implant fuses with your jawbone to provide stability as if it were a part of you.
The dental implant itself is a screw-like post that is placed in the jawbone. An abutment attaches to the implant and supports a dental crown. There are also implant-supported dentures that rely on a series of implants to support an arch of replacement teeth. In any case, the end result is the strongest possible foundation for your smile.
Your Choice for Complete Family Dental Care in Miami Valley, OH
Whether you’re missing one, several, or all of your teeth, you can find effective solutions from Dr. Steven A. Lang, DDS. Dental implants and other options can restore your smile in terms of beauty and function, along with improving your long-term oral health. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Lang today to see if dental implants are right for you.