Delaying treatment for gum disease, injuries and tooth decay can lead to missing teeth. In fact, health statistics show nearly 70 percent of adults are missing at least one tooth by the time they reach 44 years of age. And by age 74, more than 25 percent of adults have lost all of their natural teeth.
Dental implants are a popular, tooth-replacement alternative to wearing traditional dentures and fixed bridges, which sit directly on top of the gums or depend on neighboring teeth to stay in place. Traditional methods also increase the risk of bone loss.
Although conventional methods are still a safe option for addressing missing teeth, compared to dental implants, they also come with certain risks and complications:
Bone loss. Traditional tooth replacements cause bone loss which can make facial muscles sag or hollow and dentures to loosen, slip and not fit well.
Clicking noises. When dentures don’t fit well, patients complain of embarrassing clicking noises when then eat and talk.
Weak, vulnerable teeth. Dental bridges require grinding down the healthy, supporting teeth to make abutments, putting them at risk for damage.
Dental implants, which are made of durable, decay-resistant titanium, are a sustainable solution for replacing one or more missing teeth. Dental implants are also a popular choice for patients who have had previous dental work and want to reinforce or replace old bridges and dentures. Your periodontist places the dental implants into your jaw bone where it fuses with your existing bone (called osseointegration). Outcomes are usually very successful for the majority of patients with results typically lasting for decades.
Why patients with missing teeth prefer dental implants:
Dental implants are comfortable and look like real teeth.
When placed properly, dental implants make eating and talking easy again – no embarrassing slipping or clicking.
Unlike traditional tooth replacements, which sit directly on the gums, dental implants protect bone tissue.
Dental implants mimic the natural tooth and root structures, stimulating the jawbone to prevent bone loss.
Are you a good Candidate for Dental Implants?
When you visit the periodontist for a dental implant consultation, she will examine your mouth to determine which dental implant procedure is best for you. Patients with the following conditions may need to discuss additional options.
Bone Loss. Dental implants require a certain amount of bone tissue to work properly. If you have bone loss then you may need some bone-grafting before getting dental implants.
Existing Health Problems. Let your periodontist know of any medications and/or medical conditions you have. Having a dental implant procedure is usually OK if your condition allows for general dentistry work, but check with Dr. Cook first.
Untreated Gum Disease. If you have gum disease, you may need to treat it before getting dental implants, especially if your condition is moderate to severe.
Smoking. Smoking is bad for oral heath in general and could negatively affect implant success. If you smoke, be sure to tell Dr. Cook so you can discuss your options.