For many Americans, one common nightmare involves losing teeth in some variation. The cause of these nightmares are difficult to explain, but what’s obvious is that having a smile that is less than spectacular can create friction in everyday life. Maybe this takes the form of small habits like covering your mouth when speaking, speaking less during important meetings, or lacking self-confidence around the office, but it’s becoming more and more clear that tooth loss can affect more than just our mouths.
A recent study conducted by West Virginia University, found that, out of over seventy-thousand patients surveyed, many reported heightened levels of anxiety and depression due to tooth loss. The results of this study, though important, are not surprising. Tooth loss can result in sunken looking cheeks, a change in the jaw structure, and shifting teeth, but it doesn’t have to.
If you’ve recently lost one, two, or more teeth, there are treatment options available, and one of the most successful of these options is Dental Implants.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a surgical structure inserted into the jaw bone to replace missing teeth, and is made up of two main components, the titanium implant, and the crown. The basis for implant dentistry is a process called “osseointegration.” After the titanium implant has been inserted, it then fuses with the bone tissue, allowing the implant to function much like our natural teeth.
Why Are They So Effective?
Bone loss is a common consequence for loss of teeth, and the results can be detrimental. Bone loss occurs when the alveolar bone doesn’t receive enough stimulation in the form of chewing, and begins to atrophy. During this process, surrounding teeth can begin to shift, and cheeks can become “sunken.”
What makes dental implants unique is their ability to preserve bone mass. Unlike traditional dentures, the titanium component of dental implants function like the root of a tooth, stimulating tissue deep within the jaw.
What Are the Downsides?
One of the main downsides of dental implants is cost. However, dental implants can last for a lifetime, and when compared to traditional dentures, which must be replaced every 5-8 years, they can be a cheaper option over time.
Have you been considering dental implants? The first step to assess whether they’re right for you is to schedule an appointment.