It’s so easy to take your teeth for granted – after all, the outer layer of enamel that surrounds them is the hardest substance found in the human body. But unfortunately, your teeth can break, deteriorate, or wear down. This can happen as a result of an accident, decay tooth grinding, or age.
When you lose a tooth, it doesn’t just leave a gap in your smile and affect your ability to bite or chew; it also has a profound effect on the health of your entire mouth – including your gums and your jaw.
Thankfully, there is a way of remedying all of the health problems associated with losing a tooth – that is to get dental implants placed.
Here are four ways that dental implants can improve your overall oral health.
1. Dental Implants Prevent Jaw Deterioration
When you lose a tooth, it’s not just your smile and your ability to chew that suffers; it’s your jaw too. Once there is no tooth for your jaw to support, the bone that once held the tooth’s root in place will start a process called ‘resorption’. This is where the minerals that make up the bone are absorbed in the bloodstream and the jaw itself starts to deteriorate.
Resorption will have a dramatic effect on your facial structure. Once a tooth has been lost, the deterioration of the jawbone will be quite fast, and eventually, the loss of bone density will make that area of your face appear sunken, making you look older than you actually are.
Dental implants are biocompatible titanium screws. These are implanted directly into your jawbone and are used in place of a root to support a prosthetic tooth.
Over the period of a few months, the titanium implant will fuse to the bone through a process called osseointegration. This means that the implant will be rigid, providing support to the replacement tooth that’s comparable to its natural root. Not only this, but the implant will also reinvigorate the bone and prevent further resorption.
Having implants placed is the most effective way of preventing bone loss in your jaw.
2. Dental Implants Stop Your Teeth From Moving
Your jaw and the teeth that it holds have been perfected through thousands of years of evolution to provide you with the exact balance needed to bite and chew your teeth. Ideally, your teeth should be in their correct place for maximum efficiency and to ensure you enjoy the best oral health. But did you know that when you lose a tooth, you run the risk of dental drifting?
Dental drifting is where your teeth migrate from their normal position. A slow slide can occur where teeth that neighbour a gap can start to spread out. This causes more gaps to form along the jawline, and teeth may even start to twist in position.
As if having a missing tooth wasn’t enough to contend with, if your teeth drift out of position, you may eventually have a gappy smile and potentially crooked teeth. Misalignment issues don’t just affect the confidence you have in your smile, they can also alter your bite and can even lead to jaw pain.
Placing dental implants capped with a realistic porcelain crown that perfectly colour matches your teeth will not only look great, but it will also help prevent dental drift.
3. Dental Implants Reduce the Risk of Tooth Decay
Inside your mouth, there are millions of bacteria. Out of the hundreds of species that naturally exist there, most are harmless, and many actually help keep your mouth healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with all of them.
The bacteria Streptococcus Mutans can be particularly harmful. This bacteria feeds on sugars and starches left on your teeth from meals, drinks, and snacks and creates acid. The bacteria combined with the acid it produces and the food debris forms plaque which coats the teeth.
When plaque isn’t removed promptly, it causes the enamel on your teeth to break down, which leads to tooth decay. Cavities will start to form, which allows the bacteria to penetrate deeper. The further into your tooth the bacteria goes, the greater the risk of infection.
Gaps left by missing teeth can be challenging areas to keep clean, and plaque may build up. Having a permanent replacement for your missing teeth can make it easier to care for your oral health and minimise the risk of developing tooth decay in your remaining teeth.
Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. They are long-lasting and relatively easy to care for. To maintain the best standards of oral health, always brush twice daily for two minutes at a time using a fluoride toothpaste. In addition to this, floss often, use mouthwash, and come and see us twice a year for a checkup.
4. Dental Implants Reduce the Risk of Periodontal Disease
The exposed gums on the site of a missing tooth can become home to the bacteria that causes gum disease. There are two types of gum disease; gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is characterised by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. This may be the less serious of the two types; however, it should always be treated with concern as it could develop into periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the advanced form of gum disease. Here, there is a high risk of tooth loss as well as damage to the underlying jaw bone that supports the teeth.
The risk of developing gum disease increases when you’ve lost teeth. If you’ve got dentures or a bridge, your oral health practices need to be flawless to avoid these issues. Having dental implants reduces these risks and makes your personal oral care far easier.
Love Teeth Love Implants
Dental implants can make a profound difference to your oral health. Not only will you look and feel great once your implants are placed, but you can be confident that your remaining teeth, gums, and jaw will be much better off too.
If you’ve lost a tooth and want to know whether implants are right for you, get in touch and schedule an appointment today. In addition to our Cheam, Chessignton, and Stonecot clinics, we’d also be happy to see you at our new Sutton clinic.