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Despite great advances in dental care and technology, millions of Americans still lose teeth due to periodontal disease and decay. In fact, as many as 40 million are missing all of their teeth, says the American College of Prosthodontists.
When you have a problematic tooth, it’s important to find a solution that is durable, comfortable and safe. If you have a serious dental issue and need a tooth extraction or even just a root canal with a crown, here are some reasons why implants could provide the best long-term solution.
Implants look genuine
Bridges and dentures were the primary options for replacing teeth for decades, but the technology behind them is dated when compared to implants. Unlike an artificial bridge or dentures that sits upon existing teeth or gums, implants are inserted directly into the jawbone, says the FDA. This direct insertion provides the look and feel of natural teeth.
Implants can be custom-made to look exactly like your original tooth, even matching the color of existing teeth. Although dentures may mimic natural teeth fairly well, they often move while eating or talking and can slip out entirely, which implants will never do.
Crowns can protect a dead or decayed tooth, but the cap can be cumbersome and often fails to add a natural look to one’s smile. When it comes to aesthetics, implants are far superior to other replacement alternatives.
Implants offer more comfort than alternatives
Patients often change from bridges or dentures to implants because of the difference in comfort. Dentures can move around because they are not anchored in the mouth, says the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. This movement causes friction and oral irritation with the possibility for soreness and other gum issues.
In addition to physical comfort, implants provide confidence that speaking and eating will be uneventful, as opposed to potential slippage and movement with dentures.
Crowns are usually not noticeable during eating or speaking, but they can become loose if you eat the wrong food.
Implants last longer than any other restorative option
Restorative dental treatments have come a long way in the past decade, but other solutions are still temporary. Only dental implants provide a permanent solution to tooth restoration, as they become a permanent fixture in the bone.
“With good care, implants will last a lifetime,” says WebMD.
Dentures and bridges may break or need periodic adjustment. Sometimes complete replacement is required. Teeth with root canal treatments and crowns can crack, break or just wear out. Teeth with crowns can develop cavities underneath the crown. It’s for this reason that many patients opt for implants since they provide a permanent tooth replacement solution.
Implants don't damage other teeth
Dental bridges to replace missing teeth are kept in place by attaching them to adjacent teeth. This creates additional strain on those teeth and can sometimes result in damage or even loss of those teeth.
"The average life of a dental bridge ... is approximately 10 years," writes Donna Rounsaville in an article for Colgate. "A portion of your natural tooth remains beneath it and normal wear may cause the bridge to fail more easily over time. In general, the remaining tooth structure continues to be susceptible to decay and gum disease."
Minimizes bone loss
A major disadvantage of dentures or bridges for replacement of missing teeth is bone loss in the underlying jaw. Over time, the problem can become so severe that dentures will no longer fit securely and facial sagging can occur. Sometimes expensive bone grafts are needed.
When bone loss is extensive properly securing dental implants might not be possible. Getting an implant right after the loss of a tooth retains the integrity of the underlying jawbone.
Implants provide more long-term value
The cost of dental implants can vary, but it tends to be higher initially than the other restorative options, Even with this higher price tag, implants save time and money because they don’t require adjustments or replacements once the healing process is complete.
Spending more up front saves you money down the road since you won’t need to pay for adjustments, replacements, denture care products or even additional surgeries to correct ongoing problems.
If you’re considering restorative dental options, it's important to consult with a dental professional experienced in implants, sedation dentistry and other advanced treatments. For implants and all your other dental needs, contact stubbsdental.com.