When you lose a tooth, it is usually best for your oral health to have it replaced. Missing teeth can affect your bite as well as your ability to speak and chew. Tooth loss can also increase the burden on your remaining teeth and can cause muscle pain in your jaws as well as headaches. One of the most important reasons people choose to replace missing teeth is to improve the appearance of their smile, and enable them to speak, laugh and chew with confidence.
In the past, options for replacing missing teeth were limited and included bridges and dentures. Each of these options has its limitations. Some bridges may last a patient’s lifetime, however, their average lifespan is about seven to ten years. Full dentures can be a long-term solution to tooth loss, however, some patients adapt well to full dentures while other patients are not able to adapt to them at all.
Advances in Oral Surgery and Restorative Dentistry have provided patients with many options for tooth replacement. One option, the placement of dental implants, offers a permanent solution for tooth loss. Dental implants are replacements for missing tooth roots and thus serve as a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. They have created a revolution in dentistry because of the expanded treatment possibilities they provide.
Dental implants are prosthetic tooth roots that are inserted into the jawbone to take the place of missing tooth roots. Once healing has occurred, a restorative dentist can place a crown on top of the dental implants to take the place of a missing tooth.
Dental implants are an extremely advanced tooth replacement system, and have a very high success rate. Anyone who is missing one or more teeth or who may be unhappy with their dentures is a potential candidate for dental implants. There are very few medical reasons that would disqualify a patient for implant placement, however, radiation therapy to the area where dental implants are placed as well as poorly controlled diseases such as diabetes can affect the success rate.