At least 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. Tooth loss occurs as a result of decay, gum disease, injury, cancer, or wear-and-tear over time. Consequences of lost teeth may include nutritional changes, further dental issues and diminished self-esteem.
When prevention isn’t an option, the choices come down to fixed bridges, removable partial dentures and dental implants. Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick from Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry explain several signs that a dental implant is the best solution for you.
1. You want to stop teeth from shifting
When a tooth is lost, the surrounding teeth shift to fill the gap, which can cause bite misalignment, uneven wear, and more expensive orthodontic care down the road. You can stop this process with any type of replacement tooth, be it an implant, denture or a bridge. However, it can take time to create and fit you with a prosthetic. At our Long Island dental practices, we can do immediate implant placement. If you’ve been suffering from a severe toothache and worry about the health of your gums and the appearance of your smile, then this comes as welcome news.
2. You want to preserve your jawbone
The jawbone deteriorates beneath dentures and fixed bridges because there is not enough stimulation to the bone in the absence of a tooth root. To avoid the hassle of a dental bone graft in the future, a dental implant is the sensible choice. Dental implants function like artificial tooth roots implanted into the jawbone, capable of supporting one or more teeth into fixed screw posts and cement, rather than affixing them to neighboring teeth. As a person chews, the forces are transferred to the underlying bone to maintain volume.
3. You want a natural-looking appearance and feel
Losing teeth and jawbone density causes the face to take on a “sunken-in” appearance, which can add years to your appearance. A dental implant made of porcelain fits, looks and feels just like a real tooth. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on what you can eat or drink with an implant. With dentures or bridges, you are instructed to avoid chewy, hard or small particle foods. Everything from whole fresh fruits and hard crusty breads, to tough red meats and peanut butter can be a challenge when you have dentures or a bridge. There are no dietary restrictions with dental implants.
4. You need a long-term solution
Whenever possible, we try to preserve your natural teeth, which will be the longest-lasting solution for most folks. However, dental implants are designed as a long-term solution and are widely considered the “next best thing.” While dental bridges may fail in 10 years or less, dental implants can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time. The only caveat is patients who have substantial bone loss already. Sometimes grafting work needs to be done to provide enough underlying support to uphold the implant.
5. You’re dissatisfied with dentures or bridges
For many years, a fixed bridge was the prevailing solution. A fixed bridge is a prosthesis that joins an artificial tooth to the adjacent teeth. While this option does address concerns about shifting, it also redistributes pressure to the surrounding teeth rather than the bone in the space where the fake tooth sits. Therefore, bone resorption still occurs, the seams create a food trap where decay occurs, and more teeth often need to be replaced over time. Many recipients also complain that dentures and bridges do not fix properly to the gums, causing uncomfortable sore spots, difficulty chewing or speaking, and embarrassment.
For a consultation on tooth loss solutions, including same day dental implants, call Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry to arrange your appointment today!