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To learn about dental implants
If you are missing teeth, dental implants can help to replace them
Missing teeth come with a host of issues. The most obvious is the impact they can have on your appearance, especially if the lost tooth is at the front of your mouth.
But missing teeth can cause other health problems you may be less aware of such as:
- impaired chewing efficiency, which could lead to nutritional or gastrointestinal problems
- when a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth can drift out of place, impacting the balance of your bite
- lost teeth can undermine the support structure of your face, potentially causing changes to your cheeks, lips or chin
- the roots of your teeth are required to maintain healthy jawbone density
What are dental implants and how do they differ from dentures?
A dental implant treatment begins with a surgical procedure to replace the root of the missing tooth with a titanium fixture. Lightweight and durable, titanium has an interesting property. Through a process called osseointegration, the titanium fixture fuses with the bone of your jaw, providing a very stable base for the tooth’s replacement – a dental crown.
The roots of your teeth are important for jawbone health. They are no different from the other bones in your body; they stay strong when they are exposed to resistance. For example, if you want to keep your arms or legs strong as you age, your doctor will often recommend you lift weights or use resistance bands when you exercise.
The resistance training your jawbone gets naturally every day is the tooth-on-tooth pressure delivered while you chew. When the root of your tooth is missing, even if the tooth itself has been replaced by a denture, this resistance pressure is lost.
Without resistance, over time, your jawbone will become reabsorbed. It’s this process that causes the typically aged look of:
- sunken cheeks
- a chin that moves up and out
- lips that become thinner.
There are other benefits of dental implants
Since they are fixed in place, dental implants can :
- be more comfortable. Of all tooth replacement treatment options, dental implants feel the most like your natural teeth. Implants can help you you to avoid the pain or discomfort caused by loose or ill fitting dentures.
- look better. Dental implants can restore your smile more effectively than dentures.
- allow you to speak and eat more easily. Poorly fitting dentures can hinder your ability to chew effectively. They can also impair your speech by causing you to mumble or slur your words.
- improve your oral health. Because dental implants don’t require changes to your existing teeth, they can contribute to better oral health. That’s because intact healthy teeth tend to contribute to better oral health. Dental implants can also be easier to keep clean because they can be brushed and flossed like your natural teeth..
- be more convenient. Because dentures are removable, they can be inconvenient as they require you to take them out to clean them and they need adhesives to keep them in place.
Are dental implants for you?
While dental implants are an effective treatment for replacing missing teeth, they are not always suitable for everyone. In order to determine if dental implants are for you, an exam by Chestermere dentist Dr Lowry is a good place to start.