Many of us are complacent about missing teeth, not realising that they can impact upon our health and facial aesthetics. Once you lose teeth, your self-esteem can be knocked, eating made difficult and eventually your jawbone and face be affected. Going forward, once the damage is done, it can be very costly to correct.
If you have missing teeth, your dentist may recommend dental implants as a solution. Before we look at dental implants, let’s look at some of the problems missing teeth can create:
This sounds unpleasant and it is. When there are no teeth in the jawbone, it begins to shrink. If you have a lot of missing teeth, this can make the jawbone very weak, resulting in not only a fractured jaw but further tooth loss as the bone just cannot support the remaining teeth.
When the problem is missing top teeth, the upper jawbone may be damaged, resulting in sinus problems. Even one missing tooth could be the culprit here, particularly if it is situated close to the sinuses. Some people have back teeth with roots that protrude into the sinus cavity.
An uneven bite
If you have missing teeth, you will know that unpleasant feeling when you come to bite on something and all that you feel is an empty space. Gradually, other teeth will shift into the gap. When you talk and eat once this has happened, teeth can hit each other, causing cracks or chips. A dental implant or bridge can prevent this, although a bridge will not help to keep the jawbone healthy; only a dental implant can do this as it is fixed directly into the jawbone.
This can have a terrible impact upon the way you look as when you have a lot of missing teeth, the shape of the bottom half of your face may change. Akin to premature ageing, your jawbone will shrink, making your face look shorter, even rotating forward at times. Lips will lose their support and as the muscles around the lips change, wrinkles appear. The upper lip can become far more pronounced, making your nose appear larger.
Save face with dental implants
As you can see, teeth are vitally important, not just for eating and talking but when shaping the way you look. One lost tooth may be tolerable but even this can cause other teeth to move. The only real way to save face and retain the health of your jawbone and facial muscles is to consider a dental implant. In some cases dental bridges may work but remember that they are not attached to the jawbone so for large gaps in the teeth, they will not enable the jawbone to retain its strength.
When you have lost teeth, it is essential to think about filling the remaining gaps as soon as possible. Damage can begin to occur fairly soon and because it happens gradually, you may not notice it until you look in the mirror one day and realise that your face has dramatically changed. Once your jawbone has diminished, dental implants cannot be added. This is why you need to act before your jawbone gets into this condition as rebuilding it is a massive task and very expensive.
The benefits of dental implants
A dental implant brings with it many benefits. Once in place, it looks and feels like your own teeth. It truly is the next best thing to healthy natural teeth. Providing a long-term solution to missing teeth, your dentist will fit the implants directly into your jawbone.
These provide an ‘artificial root’ for the new teeth to be attached to. The dental implants consist of titanium screws that are implanted into your jawbone. Once the implants are in place, the surrounding bone will eventually fuse to the screws, holding your new teeth firmly and securely in place.
Once the new false teeth have been modelled to suit your natural tooth shape and colour, they are attached to the implants. The final look is so impressive that it will be hard to detect that these are not your own original teeth. Your bite will be restored, your smile will become beautiful once again and your self-esteem will be at an all-time high. Most importantly, the fabric of the jawbone will be retained, avoiding shrinkage or movement.
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