How to determine whether dental implants are the best solution for your tooth loss.
When dealing with your dental health, few things can seem as overwhelming or upsetting as losing a tooth. Though the prevalence of tooth loss has been decreasing since the 1970s, it’s still a very real problem for many adults in the U.S. today. Smoking plays a big part in tooth loss though it isn’t the biggest factor. Many people, despite never smoking, can experience tooth loss either through illness, poor hygiene, or injury. While the risk of tooth loss naturally increases with age, young people can experience it as well. By now you’ve probably heard of dental implants, at least in passing. They’ve become a very popular method of treating tooth loss. But are dental implants right for you? Let’s explore tooth loss a bit and the solutions available to you.
Consequences of tooth loss
Losing a tooth can cause a variety of issues both physical and emotional. Immediately, one probably thinks of obvious things like visible gaps in the mouth that can feel embarrassing or increased difficulty when it comes to chewing. Those are only the short term effects, however. A missing tooth can have repercussions over the years if something isn’t done to fill the space. This is only amplified if multiple teeth are lost. The function of your jaw can be altered due to the loss of bone density over time. A deterioration of gum health can follow. Eventually, this will actually change what your facial features look like. Your face can become weathered and aged looking due to the sinking in of your cheeks from lack of bone support.
It’s no wonder that emotional hardship will follow. The feelings of depression that follow tooth loss are real and have been observed on a wide scale. If tooth loss has gotten you to that point, treatment can feel overwhelming and quality of life goes down. It doesn’t have to get to that point, however. If you’ve lost a tooth and you’re looking for a solution, it’s never been a better time to seek effective treatment.
What can be done?
Traditionally, dentures would be the solution to multiple missing teeth. We all have the visual in our heads of denture adhesives, taking them out when necessary, and everything else associated with living with dentures. Dentures are still very much in use, but dental implants have recently emerged as a popular course of treatment for a single missing tooth and even multiple missing teeth depending on your individual situation. Dentures have a bit of a learning curve and can inhibit things you would do naturally (eating certain foods, speaking, etc.) Dental implants are not removable and feel like a more “natural” solution due to being as close to a real tooth as currently possible.
Dental implants are made of titanium with a porcelain crown to approximate a natural appearance. They are surgically installed right into the bone of the jaw to ensure this natural fit and use. This also goes a long way to providing a more comfortable feel compared to shifting dentures that are not actually installed into your bone.
Ultimately, your dentist will help you with the selection of the solution that would best suit your needs. While dental implants are quite popular, not everyone is eligible for them. Here is what you need to know about who is a good candidate for receiving dental implants.
Are dental implants right for you?
The good news is, if it’s still early and you’ve recently lost your tooth with no other extensive issues, you probably qualify for implants. A successful implant depends on the health of the jawbone and gums. Jawbone density is the key. Patients with low bone density, advanced gum disease, or if they are active smokers may not be able to successfully receive an implant because the tooth won’t have a sturdy enough foundation to keep it in place. Sometimes, bone grafts are used to correct the bone density situation. While this is an option in certain circumstances, the success rate of those grafts and the ensuing implant vary greatly. Your dentist can go over the specifics of that procedure with you.
However, if you have no history of bone density issues, gum disease, and you don’t smoke, there’s a good chance a dental implant is the perfect solution for your missing tooth. There’s only one way to know for sure and that’s to schedule a consultation with a dentist who has experience helping patients via dental implants.
Now that you know more about the consequences of tooth loss and the right course of treatment, you may be interested in exploring your options further. We encourage you to contact us today to set up a consultation with Dr. Alen Gharibian. Dr. Gharibian and his team are committed to providing patients with the utmost care, respect, honesty, and kindness. Tooth loss is hard. But, we’re here to help.