For Replacing Teeth, Dental Implants Are Best Value

Posted on Apr 17, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontal Specialist, I stay current on the advancements in implants dentistry because, for many reasons, it is the ideal replacement option for missing teeth. The various systems, modern techniques and advanced materials now offer exceptional choices for any individual who is missing natural teeth.

Along with the developments in implant dentistry, my advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants gives me expanded skills to provide optimal results. While our patients mainly see the results of an appealing, confident smile once their treatment is completed, it is the foundation of healthy gums that is the true benefit to dental implant recipients.

Think about the way nature created your smile with natural teeth held by their roots in the upper or lower jaws. The jaw bones are nurtured by the existence of tooth roots, which provide stimulation that keeps the bone healthy. Without their presence, the jaw bones experience a process known as resorption. Resorption causes bones to lose mass, declining in height and width.

Healthy Jaw Bone Vs Bone Loss From Missing Teeth

Bone loss leads to 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 be detected visually in people who have a collapsed mouth (referred to as a ‘granny look’) where the nose is unusually close to the chin.

Bone loss is also the reason that once well-fitted dentures and partials begin to 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 choose dental implants to replace teeth, however, it is the appeal of making a lifelong investment that is the determining factor when comparing costs of implants to other tooth replacement options. Since they are designed to last a lifetime, many see dental implants as a ‘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. And, they do nothing to halt bone loss. The other consideration is the need to crown natural teeth for the sole purpose of supporting a bridge. This compromises the integrity of otherwise natural teeth for the mere purpose of holding a bridge.

Since they are held in the jaw bone, dental implants do not rely on adjacent teeth for support 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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