Are you missing a tooth or multiple teeth? You’re not alone. Many adults in the United States over the age of 30 are missing at least one tooth, and some are missing all of their teeth.
And while many of those who are missing teeth simply leave the space open, the effects of not replacing a missing tooth or teeth are significant — and not just for the appearance of your smile.
How Many People Are Missing Teeth?
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 40 million Americans have lost one or more natural teeth due to periodontal disease (gum disease). This is an increase from 35 million people with missing teeth in 1990. And according to the American Academy of Periodontology, nearly half of Americans age 65 years and older have lost all their teeth.
The Cause of Missing Teeth
What causes tooth loss? Many things, actually. Some people lose teeth because they have gum disease, others because they have an injury to the jawbone, and still others have lost teeth simply because of age and losing their teeth naturally.
Other causes of missing teeth include:
- Tooth decay
- Bone loss
- Teeth clenching and grinding
Replacing Missing Teeth
Regardless of the cause, it’s important that if you do experience tooth loss, you replace those missing teeth as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your remaining teeth will begin to shift into different positions, which can lead to problems with chewing and speaking. And when you combine this shifting with the lack of support from your missing teeth, you could end up with serious issues like TMJ disorder (jaw joint pain) and even headaches.
If you need to replace your missing teeth, there are several options available. The most common and popular tooth-replacement option is dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed inside your jawbone where your natural root used to be. They look and feel much like your natural teeth, but offer several benefits over other types of tooth replacements. For example, they are more stable than other tooth-replacement options, such as dentures and bridges.
In addition to being more stable than dentures, implants don’t require additional maintenance like dentures. Simply brush and floss your implant just like you would your natural teeth. Unlike dentures, implants don’t require special cleaning every day, so they last longer and stay cleaner for longer periods of time.
They also provide better support than dentures, making eating easier and improving your overall oral health.
Can Dental Implants Affect Your Appearance?
Yes. When you have dental implants, you’ll notice that your gums appear healthier than before, and your smile looks fuller and brighter. In fact, studies show that patients with implants report feeling happier about their smiles than those without.
Another benefit of having dental implants is that they help preserve your facial structure and prevent bone mass loss by supporting the jawbone. So unlike traditional bridges and dentures, implants won’t alter your face shape.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Yes! The placing of dental implants is a safe procedure that has been performed on millions of people worldwide. In fact, dental implants are considered the safest form of tooth replacement. They have a very high success rate and also last a long time with proper care.
The Dental Implant Process
So what happens during the process of getting dental implants? First, we take impressions of your mouth and send them off to our lab. Then, we make a model of your mouth using 3-D technology. Once the model is complete, we use it to create a custom-made titanium post that will be placed in your jawbone. This post serves as a base for the crown, or “tooth-like” portion of the dental implant that will eventually cover the surgically placed post.
Once the titanium post is placed into the jawbone, the post will fuse into the jawbone itself through a process called osseointegration. During this stage, bone cells grow onto the surface of the post and fuse together, forming a strong bond between the two parts. Once this occurs, we place the final part of the dental implant, the crown, over the top of the post.
How Long Does It Take To Get Dental Implants?
The entire process of getting dental implants takes anywhere from six months to two years, depending on how many implants you’re placing. But if you’re looking at getting multiple implants, it’s best to get started sooner rather than later.
What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Getting Dental Implants?
Getting dental implants offers several benefits over other forms of tooth replacement. One of these is that dental implants are permanent. Another advantage of dental implants is that they look just like your natural teeth. They feel comfortable when chewing and look beautiful. And because the posts are made of metal, they’re stronger than traditional dentures.
Looking for a single tooth replacement or other dental implant solution like removable dentures or dental bridges? Call us to discuss your tooth-replacement options today.