Dental Implants Are Wise Investment

Posted on Nov 16, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontal Specialist, I’ve been pleased to stay on top of the advancements in dental implants as the optimal replacement for missing teeth. The various systems that employ unique techniques and materials have provided exceptional choices for about any individual who has lost natural teeth.

Along with these developments in implant dentistry, I’ve completed advanced training that has expanded my skills to provide optimal results. Not surprisingly, at treatment completion our patients mainly see the results of an appealing, confident smile. Yet, it is the foundation of it all — beneath the gums — that is the true benefit to dental implant recipients.

Think about your smile the way nature made it. Natural teeth are held by tooth roots situated in your upper or lower jaws. The jaw bones actually thrive on the presence of tooth roots, which provide a stimulating interaction that keeps the bone healthy. Without their presence, the jaw bones go through a process referred to as resorption. Resorption causes bones to lose mass, declining in both height and width.

Bone loss causes a number of problems. Once resorption begins, remaining teeth adjacent to the area of bone loss are affected. A shrinking bone that abuts areas of resorption weakens tooth root stability. This creates a domino effect. When a natural tooth is lost, statistics show the next to go will most likely be an adjacent tooth.

As bone loss continues, your potential to lose more teeth increases. With each extraction, the continual process of bone loss leaves you with an ever-shrinking jaw and weaker foundation for remaining teeth. Bone resorption can even be seen in people who appear to have a collapsed mouth (referred to as a ‘granny look’) where the nose is unusually close to the chin. This is actually the result of severe bone loss.

Bone loss is also the culprit for dentures and partials that slip and cause uncomfortable rubbing on gum tissues. When a denture is first made, it is designed to conform to the unique contours of your gum ridge (the gum-covered arch that once held your natural tooth roots). As the bone declines in mass, this secure fit loosens and moves while chewing or laughing. Denture pastes or adhesives can help, but eventually even relines (reshaping the previously-made contours) are of little help.

To many people who opt for dental implants, however, it is the appeal of having a lifelong investment that is the deciding factor when comparing implants to other tooth replacement options. Because dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, many see them as an appealing ‘one and done’ choice for treatment.

In cases where one or several teeth together are missing, crown-&-bridge combinations are an option. However, crowns and bridges can require repairs and/or replacements over time, they do nothing to halt bone loss and crowning natural teeth for the sole purpose of supporting a bridge forever compromises the health of otherwise natural teeth.

Dental implants do not rely on adjacent teeth for support since they are held in the jaw bone, providing the same, sturdy foundation as natural tooth roots. An added bonus is how the implanted portion recreates the presence of a tooth root, halting the process of resorption.

Our goal is to always provide the best outcome possible based on the long term goals you desire. Let’s begin with a private, no obligation consultation to discuss your specific goals or concerns. Call 828-274-9440 for an appointment.


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