Our teeth are vital body parts because they allow us to break down food for easier consumption and help us speak clearly. For this reason, everyone is encouraged to take care of their teeth. However, one can only do so much because teeth are bound to get damaged and eventually decay. Fortunately, there are different treatment options, such as dental implants.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone. They act as a permanent replacement for missing teeth and provide a secure foundation for the placement of crowns, bridges, and dentures to regain dental function. While the concept is pretty straightforward, many people don't consider getting them because they think they're better off with other solutions, such as dentures or bridges, which is rarely the case since different people have different needs. Few people also know how they work, so we'll discuss the details in this article.
How Tooth Loss Affects Jaw Function
There are different ways how losing your teeth affects your jaw function, such as:
Tooth loss can cause the jawbone to deteriorate due to lack of stimulation. Without the presence of teeth, the bone does not receive the same signals from the jaw muscles that it does when chewing. This can cause the jawbone to shrink and become weaker, leading to changes in the shape of the face and loss of facial support.
When teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can shift out of their original positions, leading to an altered bite. This can cause problems in how you chew and speak and cause pain in the jaw joint.
Sunken Facial Structure
Tooth loss can cause the face to look older as the jawbone deteriorates and the facial muscles sag. This can cause the cheeks to appear sunken and the lips to look thinner.
Increased Risk of Dental Conditions
Tooth loss can increase the risk of periodontal disease and other oral health issues, such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. In addition, it can also increase the risk of systemic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease.
What to Expect When Getting Dental Implants
The process of getting dental implants is relatively straightforward, but it involves several steps. First, the dentist will evaluate your mouth and take x-rays of your teeth and jaw to assess the amount of bone available for the implant. Then, the dentist will prepare the area for the implant by making an incision in the gums and drilling a hole into the jawbone. Once the implant is placed, the dentist will secure it with a screw or abutment. Finally, the dentist will cover the implant with a crown or bridge.
However, there are times when the implant placement process may need to be done in multiple stages. For instance, if there's not enough jawbone available for the implant, the dentist may need to perform a bone graft to increase the volume of the available bone. Once the bone graft has healed, the implant can be placed. Sometimes, the implant may also need to be placed in multiple stages, depending on the size and type of implant used.
What Are Dental Implants Made Of?
Most dental implants are made from titanium, a strong and biocompatible metal. This metal is ideal for dental implants because it can bond with your jawbone, providing a secure and stable base for the crown or bridge placed over the implant. Some materials, such as zirconia, may also be used.
What to Do After Getting a Dental Implant
After getting a dental implant, you must maintain regular oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing. It's also essential to avoid eating hard or crunchy foods, as they can damage the implant. Additionally, visiting your dentist regularly is vital, as they can monitor the implant and ensure it’s healing as intended.
Dental implants are an excellent way to replace missing teeth and restore your smile, especially since our jaw function is an integral bodily function. However, dental implants aren't for everyone, so you should consult your dentist first to see if you're a candidate. If you are, you must take special care of the implant to ensure it heals properly and lasts for many years.
If you’re looking for dentists in Waterford, MI, Dental House MI can help you! We understand the value of oral health, so our dentists can prescribe comprehensive solutions to ensure your dental needs are met. Call (947) 888-9192 today to make an appointment!