Missing teeth can leave your mouth with a ghastly gap, but the problem runs deeper than cosmetic concerns. Your mouth was designed to work with a full set of upper and lower teeth, and each one matters. When one or more go missing, it causes a ripple effect of problems, some of which can be prevented with various dental treatments.
You can close the gap with a dental bridge anchored to neighboring teeth. You can also choose dentures, a time-honored removable appliance that adheres to your gums. While each option solves the aesthetic problem, neither addresses the more serious issues of your bone and oral health.
Here, the expert team at Union Square Dental, located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, New York City, explains why dental implants are the gold standard for the treatment of missing teeth.
One of the main reasons you should never ignore a gap in your smile is that it causes problems that affect your oral health. Wherever there’s vacant space, your remaining teeth will shift and drift into the open spaces, causing crooked teeth and a misaligned bite.
While dentures and bridges also fill the gap and prevent your other teeth from moving, bridges are held in place by crowns that need to be installed on either side of the gap. Crowns require that we remove some of the surface area of your healthy teeth to make room for the crown, and it’s best not to damage your healthy teeth if we can avoid it.
When you lose a tooth, you lose the whole thing, top to bottom, including the root. And that’s a problem because those roots give signals to your jaw to stimulate new bone growth. Once the regular pressure from biting and chewing is absent, your jaw begins to absorb the surrounding bone rather than build it. This can change the look of your face as your cheeks sink inward.
When you get a dental implant, we anchor it to your jawbone with a titanium post that replicates the original root and not only prevents bone loss but may even reverse loss that’s already occurred.
Dentures and bridges come with a list of foods to avoid. Anything too sticky or crunchy can damage or make them out of place. That means you may have to give up some of your favorites.
But with dental implants, your new teeth are permanently planted into your jawbone, and you’re free to eat whatever your heart desires — corn on the cob, apples, steak — the sky’s the limit.
If you wear dentures, you must take them out every night, clean them properly with a soft brush, and soak them in a special solution. Bridges require special cleaning to clear away bacteria underneath them. But dental implants require nothing more than the same healthy oral hygiene recommended for everyone: brush twice a day and floss once daily.
Your dental implants are made of durable materials that are meant to last the rest of your life. Although, if you’re young and have many years of life ahead of you, or if your dental implants undergo a lot of wear and tear, you may need to have the crown replaced at some point.
Dentures, on the other hand, need to be replaced every 5-10 years. And because you’ll likely lose some bone mass while wearing dentures, you’ll have to get them refitted regularly. Implants don’t require any adjustments.
Whether you need one tooth replaced, a whole row, or the entire arch, dental implants offer versatile options. And unlike bridges and dentures, dental implants feel like your real teeth. They exert pressure like real teeth and stay firmly in place. Dentures tend to shift around and even slip out of place now and then.
In fact, wearing dentures takes some getting used to. Eating and speaking with dentures can be tricky until you get the hang of it. The way your tongue and teeth work together to make sounds is a precise skill, and you need to relearn it when you have an artificial appliance in your mouth. Not so with dental implants. You feel comfortable, natural, and confident from day one.
If you’ve lost a tooth or two and are interested in learning more about dental implants, call us at Union Square Dental today. We’re located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, New York City.