These days, we all know someone who has a dental implant, and you have probably heard us champion these teeth substitutes, as they become more and more the common cure for missing teeth!
We think that’s a valid question and it deserves a good answer!
Any oral health professional will tell you that living with a missing tooth can have negative consequences that go well below the gum line. The problem doesn’t stop at the single tooth that goes missing. The jawbone also suffers. When there is not a tooth set in the jawbone offering regular stimulation, you lose bone mass in that area. That loss of jawbone contributes to a decline in facial aesthetics as the jaw shrinks away. The loss of jawbone also means that when you do have an implant later in life, you will likely require extensive bone grafting prior to the implant procedure.
This is why we bone graft every extraction site in order to improve the chances of having an implant later in life. Most dentists are not trained in dental school in bone grafting and other surgical procedures. So they traditionally just extract the tooth, without bone grafting. This will only lead to another surgical procedure later on: referred as “ridge augmentation” or bone grafting. Its much easier and cheaper to bone graft the extraction site at the time of the extraction, when the socket is open and visible. To have to come back later, to reopen the site for bone grafting only causes additional pain and discomfort to the patient and their pocketbook.
In contrast, dental implants eliminate these problems and encourage a healthy, strong and adequate jaw by integrating with it (also known as: osseointegration). The implant then provides regular stimulation (as you chew food), and keeps the jawbone in proper health.
Lifestyle and Diet
Most people with dentures report that in addition to living in fear of their dentures falling out in social settings, they also must live with a restricted diet, unable to enjoy the foods that they previously ate. This same restricted diet goes for those with wobbly bridges and crowns as well. More often than not, those restricted foods are some of the healthiest ones, such as crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables.
Dental implants look and feel nearly identical to your regular teeth, and are second only to your natural teeth when it comes to form and function. Dental implants allow you to eat and live freely with a healthy diet and without fear. In addition to that, dental implants have a 95-98% success rate depending on the location in the mouth…but just like your natural teeth, they require routine checkup and maintenance!
This is a patient that lost tooth #8 due to a fracture. It was bone grafting first, then the implant was placed using guided surgery. Its hard to way which tooth is the natural tooth versus the implant!