Many advertisements about dental implants play up the beautification aspects of these false teeth. While dental implants can improve how your smile looks, here are three other — and quite possibly more important — benefits to getting them.
Avoid Jaw Bone Deterioration
Teeth do more than grind up food. The impact from chewing stimulates the jaw bone, ensuring the body maintains a healthy level of bone matter and density. When you lose a tooth, that part of the jaw goes under stimulated, which makes the body think the bone there isn't needed and lets it deteriorate over time.
According to some experts, people lose as much as 25 percent of the bone in areas where they have had teeth extracted. Not only can this make the jaw more vulnerable to injury, but the loss also causes the face to take on a sunken look that makes people appear older than they are.
Getting dental implants soon after losing a tooth ensures the jaw bone continues receiving the daily stimulation needed to remain healthy. However, even if you wait years to replace a missing tooth, you'll still benefit because part of the dental implant process involves rebuilding the jaw bone using various grafting techniques.
Restoring lost jaw bone takes time, though, so it's important to make an appointment to start the process as soon as you decide you want to get dental implants.
Prevent Problematic Tooth Movement
Most people don't realize this, but your teeth aren't permanently cemented into the jaw. They do shift around, albeit slowly. This is why dentists typically recommend removing wisdom teeth when there isn't enough room in the mouth to fit them because they can cause tooth crowding by pushing on other teeth when they erupt.
Likewise, losing a tooth creates a gap that — without the mutual pressure to stay in line — your other teeth will move in to fill. This can result in the appearance of unsightly spaces between teeth over time and even a change in your bite.
Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant can prevent this from happening by filling in the gap so your other teeth can't drift into the open space. Be aware, though, that you may have to undergo orthodontic treatment beforehand to correct any movement issues that have already occurred. Once your teeth are in the right place, however, inserting the dental implant will be quick and easy.
Stop Future Tooth Loss
A third important benefit to getting dental implants is they can help you avoid losing even more teeth in the future by reducing the stress placed on other teeth in your mouth.
Another problem caused by missing teeth is the redistribution of chewing forces. When you chew food, the force of your bite is typically dispersed evenly through all of the molars in the row. When you're missing a tooth, though, the force is passed over a smaller space, putting more pressure and stress on the remaining teeth.
Depending on which teeth are literally impacted, this can cause them to wear down faster and break. Additionally, the exposure of more of your gum tissue increases your risk of developing oral infections. Add in the aforementioned bone loss and tooth shifting and the damage may occur even faster or be even more devastating.
A good oral health routine featuring regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups can help stave off the loss for a while. If you really want to protect your teeth, though, it is best to have missing ones replaced with implants.
For more information about dental implants or to schedule an appointment to have some installed, contact a local cosmetic dentist.