If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you may be wondering, is it really that important to replace them? After all, they aren’t hindering your ability to eat, though it can get uncomfortable and you’ve had to start avoiding certain foods. The only thing that truly worries you is how the appearance of your smile has changed with newly visible gaps.
The Dangers of Tooth Loss
Unfortunately, even the loss of a single tooth can have consequences beyond what you’re currently experiencing. Teeth play a role beneath the surface of your smile, where the roots are attached to the jawbone. Your teeth, when you bite and chew, help to stimulate the bone to keep it strong and healthy. Without teeth, the bone no longer has a purpose and will begin to resorb (shrink away). This leaves adjacent teeth vulnerable as they will begin to shift and sink with the atrophied bone. This the dangers of this process multiply with each additional tooth that is lost.
Your Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
Thankfully, you have options for replacing teeth you’ve lost, no matter how many. However, not all these options are alike, nor do they have the same benefits. While it’s important to replace teeth, it’s also important as to how you replace them. Partial or full dentures, for example, are removable and often considered a short-term solution that can even accelerate jawbone loss. Kept in place by natural suction and pastes or adhesives, dentures aren’t reliable long-term. For instances of one or several missing teeth, dental bridges are a common option. But they require adjacent teeth to be healthy and will need replacing only a few years later. The danger of bridges is the risk for food debris and bacterial plaque to accumulate below the restoration, affecting the health of the abutment teeth keeping it in place.
How Dental Implants Restore Your Smile
The only tooth replacement option that can truly restore your smile, including its function and aesthetics, is dental implants. Unlike dentures and bridges, dental implants are designed to last the rest of your life without the need for repairs. The implant post surgically placed in your jawbone will act like a tooth root and provide the necessary stimulation to improve its health and strength. Dental implants can also be restored with a custom dental crown, bridge, or full set of teeth. The most versatile and longest-lasting, dental implants are often the best solution if you have one or more missing teeth!
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