We tend to take our teeth for granted when they are well and healthy. When toothaches or cosmetic damage occurs, we begin to take notice. However, after teeth are lost we truly understand how important they were. Suddenly, you can’t pronounce certain words correctly, chewing becomes a chore, and you are too embarrassed to smile. Over time, the surrounding teeth will begin leaning toward the gap, which increases your risk of cavities or gum disease. Your jawbone in that area also begins deteriorating, because it relies on stimulation from the tooth root to trigger healthy cell rejuvenation.
Although every patient is unique, an implant-topped restoration is considered the best solution in most cases. It can solve or prevent the problems mentioned above, and restore the appearance and functionality of your smile. However, implants are only one of many tooth replacement options. You may wonder what makes them better.
Implants are replacement tooth roots, which can support a number of cosmetic restorations. The actual implant is very small, yet very strong, typically made of titanium. It is placed in the jawbone during a minor oral surgery. New bone cells form and attach themselves to the implant, creating the same rock-solid bond that a natural root has. When you bite down, that pressure is transferred from the restoration to the implant and in turn the bone. This mimics the action of a real root, keeping the bone healthy.
Dental bridges are a viable option in select cases, depending on the number and configuration of missing teeth. A bridge is a single unit, composed of dental crowns attached to healthy teeth, with a false tooth (pontic) between them, literally bridging the gap. Because it does not replace the root, it does not prevent bone deterioration. Additionally, this option necessitates the alteration of otherwise healthy teeth, in preparation for dental crowns.
Dentures are removable appliances. They do not require tooth alteration, but they can be challenging to stabilize. Like bridges, they do nothing to preserve the jawbone. In fact, dentures can exacerbate the bone loss, because of pressure applied on the surface of the bone.
Dr. Bruyere offers dental implants, as well as alternative tooth replacement options, for residents of Longview, Hallsville, and other area communities. Call (903) 708-6116 and schedule a consultation to find out if this treatment is right for you.