If you are missing teeth, you are probably considering your options for tooth replacement. With so many options available, including bridges, dentures, and implants, how do you know which one is right for you? You may already know that dental implants are a permanent dental restoration, which means that your new teeth will function naturally and look nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth. However, you may be unaware that implants also have long-term benefits for your overall wellbeing. In this post, your Park Ridge dentist explains the health benefits associated with dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Modern dental implants were first perfected in the 1980’s, and they have since soared in popularity as more dentists and their patients begin to recognize the many benefits of the restorations. Implants are made up of three parts: the titanium implant post, the abutment piece, and the dental crown. To place an implant, your dentist will embed the biocompatible post in your gums. As your gum tissue heals, it will start to grow around this post, a process known as osseointegration. In this way, the implant post becomes a permanent part of your mouth and serves as a stable base for the restoration. When your gums have fully healed, your dentist will attach an abutment piece to the exposed tip of the post. Then she will attach a natural-looking dental crown to this piece. Implants can replace one tooth or several, and implant supported dentures are also available.
Missing Teeth and Bone Loss
Missing teeth can lead to a number of health problems, including a decrease in jaw bone structure. When teeth are healthy, the roots naturally help to support the underlying jaw bone. As you eat, talk, and move, your teeth come in contact with one another thousands of times a day. Each time they touch, they send tiny shock waves to the periodontal ligament, which attaches the teeth to the alveolar bone. These shock waves actually stimulate jaw bone growth. When you are missing teeth, there are fewer shock waves and, thus, less regeneration. Even if you are missing just one tooth, the bone immediately adjoining the area can decrease in volume by about 25% during the first year. Of course, the more teeth you are missing, the more jawbone loss you will experience. In turn, bone loss can lead to more missing teeth and a changing facial structure.
Implants Prevent Bone Loss
Dental implants are the only method of tooth replacement that can prevent jaw bone loss. Because the implant posts work like natural tooth roots, they continue to send the necessary shock waves that keep jaw bone healthy. In some cases, dental implants can actually stimulate the regeneration of already depleted bone structure. This enormous health benefit is yet another reason for the growing popularity of dental implants.
About Drs. Maria and Thanasi Loukas
Drs. Maria and Thanasi Loukas are experienced dentists and cosmetic surgeons serving Park Ridge, IL and the greater Chicago area. To learn more about dental implants and how they can benefit your overall dental health, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.