First Thing’s First - What is an Implant?
A dental implant is a screw made of a strong, non-toxic titanium alloy drilled directly into your jawbone to ensure its stability when replacing missing teeth with an artificial one.
After you’ve had a chance to heal from the implant procedure and the screw is sturdy, the artificial tooth is then screwed onto your implant fitting. The result is a reinforced tooth replacement that cannot be distinguished from a normal tooth and can last more than 20 years.
If you’re unaware of the procedure (perhaps you suffer from a dental phobia or anxiety, or if you are unfamiliar with more modern dental procedures) you may well shudder at the thought of a piece of metal being implanted into your jawbone. That it's ‘unnatural’ or sounds painful.
Like any surgical procedure, there are risks, which your dentist will be happy to discuss with you. Todays focus however, is to discuss the benefits dental implants can provide you with, and the negative effects they can help you avoid.
One Treatment - Multiple Benefits
It’s no secret that - as one of the most extensive methods of dental restoration - implants are more costly than other treatment options. But as mentioned above, sometimes attempting to avoid or prolong the inevitable with a series of smaller procedures can lead to far more hassle and expenses for you in the future.
Would it be more beneficial to attempt to salvage a problematic tooth, with repeated fillings, infection management, root canal fillings, composite bonding, veneers and crowns?
Or could strength, discolouration and decay be addressed at once by replacing the tooth outright, providing relief and boosting your morale, dental health and overall confidence in a single treatment?
If you have shallow occurrences of decay and the majority of the tooth is in a good state, then fillings are an excellent solution; but the larger and deeper the filling needs to be, the more of the tooth interior must be removed, which can lead to sensitivity and can compromise its structural integrity.
Dental Dilemmas that implants can help you avoid
As mentioned in the Tooth Loss article, losing even one tooth can compromise the teeth either side, causing additional pressure and deterioration over time as they compensate for the gap. This worsens if more than one tooth is lost, eventually affecting bite strength and jaw alignment, as well as your outward appearance and face structure. This is why it’s quite common for teeth lost due to wear and tear to be in a similar place. Additionally, the bone beneath the missing teeth recedes over time, affecting facial symmetry and jaw alignment.
Some impacts to your quality of life from tooth loss are;
- Pain - Dental pain is often termed as one of the most invasive, inescapable and extreme types of pain that could affect any one of us on a day-to-day basis. Being in constant pain of varying degrees, from a nagging ache, all the way up to being beside oneself with agony, can take their toll on a person's mental state, made worse by the fact that the problems causing it don’t just go away over time - Teeth can’t heal themselves like skin or bone. Patients can slip into a state of resignation, under the belief that there’s nothing to be done except put up with it. If you are prone to infections or abcesses in a problem tooth, an implant might help you skip the repeated trips to the dentist, time spent off work, recovery times and higher expenses in the long run.
- Appearance - Impact to facial symmetry and jaw alignment, which causes the face to appear shrunken and makes the individual appear much older, affecting their confidence and relationships
- Nutrition - As the bite strength of the individual declines, weakness and pain when eating impacts their diet and can often prevent them from eating food they may enjoy, whilst misalignment of the jay can cause additional pain where the jaw meets the skull.
- Speech - We depend on our teeth to form certain sounds whilst speaking, and missing teeth can impact your ability to communicate clearly and confidently, causing slurring and lisping.
- Hygiene - If pain, sensitivity or damage to teeth is present, it’s a natural reaction to avoid giving their mouth a thorough ‘going-over’ with a toothbrush, which further worsens a dental dilemma and risks some uncomfortable social situations.
Successful installation of dental implants can prevent this series of knock-on effects, especially if introduced at the earlier stages of tooth loss, providing sound support to the teeth either side of the gap, maintaining bite strength, jaw alignment and bone structure. It's important to consider all treatment options and make yourself aware of not just the monetary cost of a treatment, but the physical and mental costs of avoiding treatment too.
Make sure you’re sticking to your regular visits to the dentist, and if you feel like your remaining teeth are suffering from the loss of a weight bearing tooth and you want to avoid consequences later, don’t hesitate to book online, schedule an appointment over the phone on 01618203477 or simply pop down to your local practice for a chat. You can also catch daily updates from Smart Dental Care by following us on our social channels, Instagram and Facebook.