Losing teeth is not only an aesthetic concern. The loss of even one tooth affects the person’s ability to chew and speak properly. If the gap left “unfilled” bone loss will start immediately because there is no stimulation in the bone anymore where the tooth root use to be. As the bone starts disintegrating the surrounding teeth start losing support and that can lead to the loosening and eventually the loss of healthy neighboring teeth.
Crowns, bridges, and dentures can be a short-term solution to cosmetic problems associated with missing teeth. Unfortunately none of these options will prevent bone loss.
Traditional bridges requires to cut down healthy neighboring teeth to use them as anchors to hold the replacement tooth. By grinding down the enamel of these teeth it leaves them at risk for cavities and infections.
Over time dentures become uncomfortable because the jawbone shrinks and the dentures do not fit properly anymore. The improper fit will cause denture-sores and even eating and speech problems.
Dental implants are inserted in the gap of the missing teeth therefore healthy teeth are not compromised. The jawbone stays stimulated as it still has a function (now holding the artificial tooth root) and the gum covering the bone will not shrink away either. The support for the neighboring teeth will remain strong. Today dental implants are recognized as the gold standard of care for tooth replacement.
Dr. Shefali Patel, dentist in Plainfield, IL, recommends to her patients to discuss all tooth replacement options to ensure they choose the one that is best for them.