Dental implants are synthetic teeth that replace your missing teeth. Placing dental implants is the best solution for replacing your missing teeth. Dental implant technology has been around since the 1960’s. Of course, the dental implant process has become much simpler and more affordable since then. Nowadays, millions of people replace their missing teeth with dental implants each year. So why are dental implants so popular? It turns out, there are countless benefits to having dental implants instead of missing teeth. The benefits of dental implants go far beyond simply replacing your missing teeth. Lets take a look at the top 10 benefits of dental implants to better understand how valuable implants really are:
1. Preserve your jawbone
Perhaps the most important function of dental implants is to preserve your jawbone. Ever noticed how completely toothless individuals have a sunken in face? This is the result of jaw resorption subsequent to losing their teeth. Your teeth are essential to preserving your jawbone and facial muscles. Once you lose a tooth, your jawbone starts to shrink at an accelerated rate. Losing your teeth makes your jawbone shrink which makes you look old and can also cause jaw fracture. When it comes to jawbone preservation, dental implants work exactly like natural teeth do. Placing dental implants helps prevent jawbone atrophy to preserve your valuable jaw bone structure. In contrast, bridges and dentures do nothing to preserve your jaw structure.
2. Chew food properly
Losing your teeth, even if it’s just one tooth, can adversely affect your chewing ability. You need a minimum of three teeth on each side of your mouth to chew comfortably. Anything less, and you will significantly diminish your chewing capability. Missing teeth makes it difficult to eat hard foods such as steaks, raw vegetables, and nuts. This could lead to digestive issues, stomach problems, even malnutrition. Placing dental implants restores your chewing ability back to normal. Dental implants provide you with 100% chewing efficiency, similar to that of natural teeth. Denture teeth are far inferior to natural teeth when it comes to chewing. Patients with complete dentures have about 20 to 40% chewing efficiency as compared to those with a full set of natural teeth or full mouth dental implants.
3. Improve your looks and confidence
Your smile is the first thing that others notice about you. Missing teeth creates an undesirable gap in your mouth which can be quite noticeable. Missing a front tooth can have a huge impact on your self-confidence and social perception. Placing dental implants closes these gaps to restore your beautiful smile to help you regain your confidence.
4. Pronouncing your words
It’s no surprise that you need your teeth to pronounce words properly. Sounds like “s“, “f“, “th” rely on your front teeth coming proximal to one another. Missing teeth, especially your front ones, can significantly impact your pronunciation. Dentures help your pronunciation a bit, but they are not nearly as comfortable or effective at restoring your speech as dental implants.
5. Prevent teeth crowding
Losing teeth, even if it’s just one tooth, can mess up your bite relationship. Teeth like to shift into gaps close to them. Whenever you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth slowly drift into this gap. Losing just one tooth can cause every tooth on that side of your mouth to shift into this newly created gap. Sometimes this drifting is so bad that it screws up your entire bite. Dental implants close missing gaps to prevent your teeth from shifting, thus protecting your bite.
6. Prevent your remaining teeth
The average person chews 250,000 a year. So guess what happens when you start to lose your teeth? Losing teeth causes you to place significantly more stress onto your remaining teeth. The more teeth you lose, the more damage your remaining teeth sustain. Missing just 3 back teeth doubles the stress on your remaining teeth. This added stress damages your remaining teeth, causing them to break, crack and fail over the years. Replacing your missing teeth with dental implants protects your remaining teeth. Unfortunately, dentures don’t absorb much of your bite pressure. As a result, dentures do very little to relieve the stress exerted onto your remaining teeth. This explains why denture wearers continue to lose more and more teeth over the years.
7. Protect your head, neck and TMJ
The stress caused by losing your teeth goes beyond damage to your remaining teeth. This added stress is transferred to your jaws, and from there it spreads to your joints (known as TMJ). This causes headaches, migraines, and tension pain in your head and neck region. The same way that orthodontic treatment can correct your bite and reduce tension pain, dental implants restore your bite to eliminate or reduce head and neck discomfort.
8. Definitive results
Twenty years ago your dentist would encourage you to save your tooth at all costs. Root canal treatment, retreat, apectomy, hemisection, and all other types of complicated procedures were attempted to salvage infected teeth. However, most of these procedures only buy you a few additional months or years as your tooth fails sooner or later. Plus, what’s the point of spending thousands-of-dollars on a tooth that you’re going to lose in a couple years anyways? Even worse, most of these hopeless teeth continue to remain infected even after treatment. This infection can spread to the rest of your body and damage your overall well-being.
Dental implants have pretty much solved all of these problems. Dental implants offer an excellent way to replace your missing teeth, with a 98 to 99% success rate. Additionally, during implant treatment, your infected tooth is removed and replaced with a synthetic tooth. This means that there are no more questions whether your tooth is infected or not. Removing the infected tooth allows your body to rid itself of infection and start the healing process. The same can not be said of root canal treated teeth. These teeth sometimes remain infected for years even without showing any visible symptoms.
9. Improve your health
Even physician are starting to catch up with the benefits of dental implants. Many dental implant treatments are now the result of referrals made by physicians. Many medical problems can be traced back to missing or infected teeth. Broken teeth become abscessed and drain infection into your bloodstream and sinuses. This could be detrimental to your overall health, for instance:
- Patients with heart conditions must be very careful with leaving infected teeth in their mouth
- Infected teeth can damage artificial hips, titanium joints, and artificial heart valves
- Missing teeth impacts your digestion and could lead to gastrointestinal problems, stomach issues, and nutritional deficiencies
- Diabetics are especially susceptible to complications from oral infection and they should avoid leaving infected teeth in their mouth at all costs
- Those with persistent sinus issues, headaches, and undiagnosed head and neck complications may notice significant improvements after replacing their missing teeth with dental implants
As you can see, there are countless medical conditions which can be tied to missing and infected teeth. Therefore, dental implants not only restore your oral health, but they alleviate multiple medical issues.
10. Maintain facial muscles
A final benefit of dental implants is preservation of your facial muscles. Ever noticed how toothless individuals develop plenty of wrinkles and how they look much older than they really are? This is because facial muscles lose their support once you lose your teeth. With no teeth to hold your cheeks and lips in their right position, you start to develop lots and lots of wrinkles. Dental implants provide excellent support for your facial structure. This helps maintain your facial muscles in their natural position to prevent your cheeks and lips from shrinking. Again, wearing dentures does not prevent facial wrinkles, since dentures are mobile, which leads to additional wrinkles on your face.
How to get started with dental implants?
All you have to do is find a dentist nearby who offers dental implant treatment. Start by scheduling a consultation with an experienced implant dentist or oral surgeon. Once your dentist examines your teeth and X-rays, he or she can tell you how many dental implants you need to restore your smile. Your dentist will explain your treatment process and discuss financing options. Most implant dentists offer monthly financing plans, giving you have plenty of time to pay for your treatment.