Losing a tooth is never easy; not only can it make it more difficult to chew and speak, but it can also have a significant psychological impact on the way you feel about yourself and your appearance. The good news is, there are steps you cant take to replace a tooth that’s been lost due to decay, disease or trauma, but the traditional options – bridges and dentures – can still leave a lot to be desired.
A bridge is a dental device that consists of a metal frame and one or more crowns, or artificial teeth. The bridge attaches to the teeth that are left on either side of the opening made by the lost tooth, either with a very strong adhesive or with metal clips. In either case, bridges exert a lot of pressure on the supporting teeth, and often, these teeth wind up being damaged as a result. To help avoid that, the supporting teeth are usually covered with crowns, which involves removing a portion of those teeth in order to make room for the crowns. So really, losing even a single tooth winds up affecting three teeth – the one that’s missing plus the two that support the bridge.
A denture consists of a plate that hugs your palate or your lower gum and jaw and requires daily (and sometimes more often) application of a sticky adhesive to keep it in place. Of course, no matter how well you adhere your denture and how well it fits, there’s always the risk of embarrassing slippage. Plus, they can be uncomfortable, even after years of wear.
Dental Implants: A More Natural Solution to Tooth Loss
Chances are in your parents’ time the only solutions for tooth loss were the ones mentioned – dentures or bridges. But today, there’s another option that eliminates the disadvantages of both while offering some amazing benefits.
Dental implants are designed to look, feel and function like your own, natural teeth. An implant uses a metal post made out of titanium, a metal that’s been used in joint replacement and other surgical procedures for many, many years. The post works like your tooth’s root, attaching both to the jaw bone and to the prosthetic tooth, or crown, so the crown stays put with no risk of slippage. Once the post is in place, it actually fuses with your own bone so it’s plenty strong enough to withstand the pressures of biting and chewing.
The second part of the dental implant – the crown – is fabricated in a state-of-the-art dental lab, so it can be shaped and tinted to look just like your own tooth. And because dental implants are made just like a real tooth, they can also be cared for just like a real tooth – no soaking or complicated maneuvers to clean around bridges – just regular brushing and flossing and routine trips to the dentist to ensure the gum surrounding the implant stays healthy.
Preserving Your Jaw Bone
And there’s one significant advantage to implants: They can help prevent bone atrophy. Just like other cells in your body, bone cells die off and replenish themselves on a regular basis. But what triggers that replenishment cycle is stimulation. Your jaw bone needs to be stimulated to regrow, and it receives that stimulation from pressure exerted by your tooth roots. Once the root is gone, the bone begins to atrophy. Over time, bone loss can effect the roots of those neighboring teeth, causing them to become weak and loose and eventually resulting in additional tooth loss.
The titanium posts used in dental implants can continue to simulate bone tissue, so cells replenish and bone loss can be averted. Dentures and bridges that rest on top of the gums simply can’t do that, which means the risk of additional tooth loss can be higher with dentures and bridges compared to dental implants – and that means you could wind up facing more expensive restorations later.
Finding the Best Dental Implants in Nashville TN
If you’re missing a tooth or if an extraction is in your future, you owe it to yourself to explore all your options. Having strong and attractive teeth can be vital to your health and self-esteem. When it’s time to replace one or more teeth, choosing the option that feels, looks and works like your natural teeth just makes sense. As the periodontist in Nashville TN, Dr. Jason Primm is skilled in placing dental implants that are comfortable, durable and natural-looking. To learn more about dental implants, call our office at 615-370-9486 and schedule your appointment today.