Why Dental Implants?

You are probably asking yourself the question “do I need dental implants?” The only person who can answer that is you but consider this: if you have a missing tooth or even several teeth then think about the effect this is having on your life. It means feeling self-conscious about the gaps in your teeth, unwillingness to smile in public, problems with eating or having to wear loose dentures.

None of these are desirable. However, there is a solution to this which is dental implants. Dental implants can remove any pain, difficulty with eating and the embarrassment caused by missing teeth. Plus they prevent bone loss which can cause further problems if left untreated.

Dentures as an alternative to implants

There are other options such as partial or full dentures and bridges but there are downsides with these. Dentures can be uncomfortable to wear or become loose which results in a sore mouth and problems with eating or speech. This often leads to a lack of confidence especially in social situations which then causes the sufferer to avoid altogether. Dentures can be secured with implants, which for many patients dramatically improves their quality of life.

A dental Bridge as an alternative to implants

A dental bridge is another possibility but this causes problems with the adjacent healthy teeth. These teeth have to be filed down to enable the bridge to fit over them which invariable weakens them. The idea behind this is to provide a stable foundation for the bridge but if either of the supporting teeth fail then so does the bridge. A dental bridge can also result in loss on bone density in the area of the missing tooth root.

None of these problems occur with dental implants.

We can replace a single missing tooth, several missing teeth or even the entire set. But why is this important?

The importance of replacing missing teeth

Most of us will have a lost a tooth at some point in our lives, usually in childhood. But it can happen in adulthood and causes include accidents, injury, gum disease or old age. This may not seem like a pressing issue but missing teeth impact upon the following:

  • Physical health
  • Facial appearance
  • Psychological wellbeing

And these are important factors especially when combined together as they determine your overall quality of life.

Physical health

Fact: missing teeth have a dramatic effect on your health. Your teeth perform a range of functions including biting and chewing but they are also vital for the wellbeing of your gums, jaws and general state of being.

The loss of a tooth or several teeth negatively impacts on this. It affects the way the jaws open and close which causes pain, discomfort and problems with your ‘bite’. This misalignment of the jaw joint result in a condition called ‘temporomandibular joint disorder’ or TMJ which is extremely painful and requires surgery in extreme cases.

Gaps between the teeth are also a fertile breeding ground for tooth decay. These gaps enable food particles to become trapped in these spaces which are difficult to clean with a toothbrush. If they are left then bacteria attack the surrounding teeth resulting in tooth decay and gum disease. And these are major causes of tooth loss so this is, in effect, a vicious circle.

Bone loss is another side effect which occurs due to a lack of supporting structure caused by the missing tooth. What normally happens is that the root structure of a tooth helps to stimulate the bone within the jaw through load bearing actions such as biting or chewing.

But once this stops the part of the jaw which helps to secure a tooth in place – called the alveolar bone – starts to reabsorb itself, leading to a breakdown of bone cells and eventual shrinkage. Your body does not require this bone due to the lack of stimulation which results in it being lost or ‘reabsorbed’. 

Basically, your jaw loses density, causing it to become smaller and weaker. This affects the rest of your facial structure. 

The greatest loss occurs in the first couple of years following tooth loss although it varies between individuals.

Facial appearance

This refers to the effect bone loss, caused by missing teeth, has on your facial appearance.  It shortens your face and ages it. It can cause other teeth to become loose which are then at risk of falling out. Your features droop and generally appear distorted.

Many of our patients have said that they try to hide the signs of facial collapse by placing their hand over their mouth while they speak or avoid smiling as much as possible. They tend to avoid public speaking or social situations due a sense of embarrassment about their teeth.

Does this sound familiar? Do you find yourself covering your mouth when you talk because of missing teeth or ill fitting dentures?

Psychological wellbeing

Do not underestimate the effect this has on your mental state. It may seem like a trivial affair but it impacts upon your self esteem and confidence. Many people feel as if they have lost their youth or attractiveness to the opposite sex: they restrict themselves in terms of social events and activities. All of this is detrimental to their quality of life.

A set of dentures can help but they are not suitable for everyone. There are people who find them uncomfortable to wear or feel that they are not a permanent solution to their problem of missing teeth.

The only permanent solution is dental implants.