Dental implants are permanent artificial teeth that replace missing or extracted teeth. An alternative to bridges and dentures, implants appear and function just like your natural teeth. You may be surprised to learn, however, there are many health benefits of dental implants and that they are not just cosmetic dentistry solutions.
Read on to learn how a dental implant benefits your health.
1. Better Hygiene Than Dentures
Unlike dentures, implants are not removable. You can clean implants easily with only brushing and flossing, just like the rest of your teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, require a multi-step cleaning process, which many people don’t always follow.
Because it’s difficult to properly clean dentures, dentures can harbor disease-causing bacteria — experts say even the deadly MRSA virus can lurk on dentures. Fortunately, implants do not have this problem.
2. It’s Easier to Eat Healthy Foods
People with missing teeth may sometimes develop nutritional deficiencies because of difficulties eating with one or more missing teeth. Even if you have dentures, you might not be eating well, since eating healthy foods like nuts and raw vegetables can be difficult to chew with dentures.
Instead, people with dentures or missing teeth often end up eating soft, processed foods like white bread, ice cream, and cookies. These foods contain few nutrients and can cause further tooth decay, as well as other health problems such as diabetes.
Because implants function like normal teeth, they will not affect what you can eat and will allow you to eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of plant-based foods. That’s perhaps one of the best dental implant benefits because it also benefits your physical health.
3. Dental Implants Protect Your Oral Health
If you already have one or more missing teeth, you probably don’t want to lose any more! This means you have to keep the rest of your teeth in good shape with a solid dental care plan that helps prevent gum disease and gingivitis.
One of the advantages of dental implants is that it makes it easier to keep your natural teeth and gums healthy, as gaps in your smile are difficult to clean properly.
Dental implants also keep other teeth in the mouth from shifting into the gap caused by your missing tooth or teeth, thus preventing bite and alignment problems.
4. Prevent Bone Loss
When you have teeth removed, the jaw bone will start to lose density in the areas where teeth are missing. As a result, your face may have a “sunken” look, and your jaw may shorten. Reduced jaw bone density from missing teeth will also leave you vulnerable to other health problems, such as infections and the loosening of other surrounding teeth.
Dental implants help protect healthy bone tissue in your jaw and preserve your facial structure. Implants will even cause new bone tissue to build around the implant, which helps keep the implant stable.
A very attractive advantage of dental implants is that they are much more convenient than dentures.
One of the downsides of dentures is that you must frequently remove them, and they might occasionally slip out of place, causing you discomfort and embarrassment. That’s not to mention that they must be removed to be cleaned.
But, as noted earlier, implants stay put, and you clean them just like your regular teeth. This makes oral health care easier for you because you don’t have to worry about removing your implants to get them clean. There’s no worry about them slipping or falling out, either!
How Do Dental Implants Work?
The first step in getting a dental implant is to have a titanium post placed in your jawbone via a surgical procedure. This post serves as the “root” of the implant and keeps the implant firmly in place.
Next, an abutment is attached to the post. The abutment serves to attach the crown of the tooth to the post and keeps the tooth in place.
Lastly, the crown is attached to the abutment. The crown is usually made of ceramic and looks like a natural tooth. From there, it’s a matter of taking care of your new dental implant just like you would a regular tooth!
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are incredibly strong, and if they are well cared for, will likely last you the rest of your life. As a result, there’s no worry about them wearing down or needing to replace them due to cracks, chips, and the like. They are intended to be a permanent solution!
Having said that, your diet, lifestyle, and oral hygiene will influence the longevity of dental implants, as will any pre-existing medical conditions that predispose you to oral health issues.
However, if you eat right, brush and floss regularly, and make bi-yearly visits to the dentist for a check-up, there’s no reason that your dental implants won’t be with you for the rest of your life.
More About Dental Implants
Dental implants are a great permanent alternative to dentures and bridges and should be considered as part of any long-term dental care plan. In addition to the health-related benefits of dental implants listed above, they also give you the confidence that comes with a beautiful, natural looking smile.
In addition to full implants, you also have the option of implant-affixed dentures. With this solution, dentures attach securely to implants but are removable. Learn more about the dental implant and denture solutions offered by your Bainbridge Island dentist.