How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Oral Health
Dental implants are a popular and effective tooth replacement option; in America alone, dentists place more than 5 million implants every year. While dental implants do have a few drawbacks, they have a wide range of benefits—many of which other tooth replacement options either can’t provide or don’t provide at all. For many patients, dental implants’ positives far outweigh the negatives. If you’ve lost one or more teeth, here are some of the unique benefits of dental implants.
1. Dental implants are versatile.
Bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures are all limited in regards to how many teeth they can replace. As a result, your treatment options may be relatively limited depending on how many teeth you have lost. Implants, however, are incredibly versatile treatments. They can be fitted with a crown to replace a single tooth, a bridge or partial denture to replace multiple, or full dentures to replace all of your teeth. This enables you and your dentist to design the perfect treatment for you.
2. They’re more comfortable.
Dental implants are embedded directly into your jawbone to simulate a tooth’s root and give the prosthetic increased strength and support. During the healing process, your jawbone actually grows around the titanium rod in your jaw, holding it even more firmly in place. This added stability helps implants feel exactly like natural teeth, so much so that you’re likely to forget they’re even there. Other tooth replacement options simply can’t simulate the feeling of tooth roots, so they don’t feel as secure or natural as implants do.
The contrast between the comfort of implant-supported dentures and traditional dentures is likely the most dramatic. Implants ensure that your denture is locked firmly in place, eliminating the discomfort of loose dentures and the need for you to deal with messy denture adhesives. These are some of the benefits of dental implants that convince a lot of people to choose implants over dentures.
3. Implants make it easier to speak.
Our teeth play an important role in helping us form certain sounds, so missing a few key teeth at the front of your mouth can cause a surprising difference in your speech. Similarly, loose dentures can slide as you speak, causing you to slur or lisp. This can be embarrassing and distracting, as you’re constantly worrying about whether or not your dentures will slip or what your voice will sound like.
Implants can fix both of these issues. If you simply have a gap in your teeth, implants provide a surface for your tongue to press against when forming words, immediately making speaking much easier. Additionally, implant-supported dentures are held firmly in place by several deeply rooted implants, preventing them from slipping or sliding around in your mouth. As a result, implants enable you to speak easily and confidently — truly one of the benefits of dental implants.
4. They allow you to eat your favorite foods.
If you’re missing a few molars, you likely know how much of a difference a few missing teeth can make in your ability to chew some foods easily. Implants fill that gap, making it easier for you to eat again. Additionally, since implants are rooted firmly into your jawbone, implant-supported dentures don’t carry the same food restrictions that traditional dentures do. You can keep eating your favorite chewy or crunchy foods—even corn on the cob stays on the menu! You’ll also never run the risk of your dentures slipping while you eat, which means you can eat whatever you’d like in public without worrying about getting embarrassed.
5. Implants look natural.
With the help of modern materials and technology, dental implants look just as realistic as they feel. Your prosthetics are designed specifically for you, ensuring your smile looks as great as it feels. If you have healthy natural teeth, your prosthetic tooth is made to blend in with them perfectly. Even dentures look incredibly realistic, with the acrylic gums made to match the color of your natural gums. Whether you put crowns, a bridge, or dentures on your implants, no one will know which of your teeth are natural and which aren’t!
6. They can help to increase your self-confidence.
If you have a gap in your smile, you probably know just how self-conscious it can make you. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what other people think of the gap or worry about how it affects your speech. Implants can give you a smile that both looks and feels natural, allowing you to speak and smile with confidence. You can simply go out and have fun without wasting a second thought on your teeth.
7. They improve your oral health.
Although receiving a dental implant may sound invasive and intimidating, many dentists consider implants to be a more conservative treatment for missing teeth. This is because implants don’t negatively impact your remaining teeth. Implants are supported the same way natural teeth are: by being anchored directly in the jaw. On the other hand, bridges are supported by placing crowns on the healthy teeth next to the gap in your smile. Performing dental work on otherwise healthy teeth is never ideal, as it can weaken those teeth. Keeping your healthy teeth untouched will help you maintain your oral health for years to come.
8. They prevent bone loss.
The roots of your teeth perform an essential function by sending signals that tell your jawbone to grow. Once you lose a tooth, your body begins to reabsorb the bone where that tooth root once was, which can cause your face to look caved in over time. The titanium rod that anchors your implant into your jawbone performs this essential function, even encouraging the jawbone to grow around it during the healing process. So, not only does it prevent bone loss, protecting your face shape, but it can even reverse some bone loss that may have already occurred. Other tooth replacement options simply can’t do this, as they can’t stimulate the jawbone.
9. Dental implants are low-maintenance.
Dental implants that are capped with a crown are very low-maintenance, requiring only a good oral hygiene routine to ensure that they last as long as possible. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing and using mouthwash at least once a day, and visiting your dentist for a regular preventative cleaning at least every six months. You don’t have to add any extra steps to your oral hygiene routine. Implants that are capped with bridges require only one extra step, as you must clean under the false tooth to keep your gums healthy, while implants capped with dentures require the same amount of care as traditional dentures.
10. They’re durable.
Dental implants are incredibly durable. With proper dental hygiene, your implant will last you a lifetime, though wear and tear will require you to replace the crown on your implant every 15 years or so. In contrast, your entire bridge will need to be replaced every five to 15 years, depending on how well you care for it. Dentures need to be replaced every five to eight years, and because of bone loss in your jaw, they need regular adjustments to keep them fitting properly. Implants’ durability saves you money in the long run, as they don’t require adjustments. Once your implant is in, they’re incredibly hassle-free.
If you have lost one or more teeth, modern dentistry has a wealth of great tooth replacement options to choose from. If you’re a good candidate for dental implants, however, they’re one of the best treatments possible; they’re versatile, durable, and work to restore your teeth while protecting your short- and long-term oral health. When cared for properly, they become a permanent part of your smile, keeping it healthy and beautiful for a lifetime.