By Michael Vold, DDS
The loss of a tooth can have a dramatically negative impact on your appearance. Tooth loss can also cause you to have speech and chewing problems, as well as cause the weakening and movement of other teeth. A missing tooth can also result in bite problems and jawbone erosion.
There are many reasons for suffering a tooth loss, including poor oral hygiene and gum disease, inadequate nutrition, and accidents. Approximately 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth.
One of the primary reasons for tooth loss is tooth decay. Plaque builds up in the mouth when teeth aren’t brushed and flossed regularly or properly. The plaque contains sugars and acids that eat through tooth enamel, resulting in cavities. If the deterioration isn’t stopped, the damage can lead to the loss of teeth.
Accidents involving major impacts, such as falls, sporting injuries and auto accidents, can cause tooth loss as well. According to recent studies, most Americans will have lost an average of 12 teeth by age 50, and one out of every four people will have lost all of their teeth by the time they reach 60 years of age.
Dental implants are one of the most popular treatments for replacing missing teeth. The implants are made of titanium, a metal known for its strength and resistance to corrosion. They look just like a tooth’s normal root. Designed to fuse with bone, they provide the foundation for replacement teeth, including crowns, bridges and dentures
During the second stage of the procedure, a small amount of gum is removed to expose the top of the implant. An abutment (connecting element) is attached to the part of the implant that appears above the gum line. After the abutment has healed, it is fitted with a crown. The process of fusing the implant to the jawbone provides increased strength and stability for the new tooth. It also helps ensure the tooth looks natural.
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or several missing teeth. Unlike removable dentures, they do not rest on your gums, nor do they slip or click. They are not anchored to adjacent teeth like bridges, nor do they require any teeth in the mouth to be reduced in size.
The benefits of dental implants include a more attractive appearance, increased comfort and improved speech. Implants will also make it easier to eat and chew food because they function exactly like your own regular teeth.
Except for young children, anyone with missing teeth is a good candidate for dental implants. Dental implants can also replace existing bridges or dentures.
The success rate for dental implants is extremely high. However, they do need to be taken care of just like natural teeth, including regular brushing and flossing. Properly maintained, dental implants will last for many years.
If you have missing teeth, consult a dental oral surgeon who knows how to implant teeth. During your initial consultation, you can find out more about the procedure, about the results you can expect, and the cost dental implants typically amount to in your area.
Dr. Michael Vold, DDS, JD, (Northbrook Court Dental, Northbrook, IL http://www.northbrookcourtdental.com) has been practicing dentistry over 30 years & is a national lecturer. See more at http://www.northbrookcourtdental.com/aboutdentist.html. Visit his blog at http://northbrookcourtdental.com/blog/