When you lose a permanent tooth, you have a couple of options. You could do nothing although, as you will learn later, not replacing a missing tooth can have dire consequences on your oral health and your overall wellbeing. You could have a dental bridge placed, which means you will have to sacrifice some healthy tooth enamel in order to place the bridge. Or, you can talk to your Austin dentist about dental implants.
This innovative solution to adult tooth loss is comprised of three parts:
- The implant. This screw-like device is made from biocompatible, medical-grade titanium and is surgically inserted into the jawbone. As it heals, the implant will fuse with the surrounding bone tissue, creating an incredibly strong support base.
- The abutment. After the implant has healed, the abutment is attached. This component will help stabilize the replacement tooth.
- The restoration. Restorations replace the visible portion of the missing tooth and include porcelain dental crowns, bridgework, partial dentures, and even full dentures that your Austin dentist secures to the implant and abutment. Restorations are highly realistic and constructed from durable materials.
This innovative solution to adult tooth loss is considered the gold standard of tooth replacement for a number of reasons:
- Dental implants replace both the crown (the part of the tooth that shows above the gum line) and the root (the portion anchored into the jawbone). This means that dental implants protect your bone health even as they allow you to return to normal speaking, eating, and smiling.
- Dental implants can be used to replace any number of missing teeth. The doctor can secure a single crown, partial denture, or full denture using dental implants.
- Dental implants provide a more secure tooth replacement option. Single crown implants do not need replacement every 10-15 years like most bridges do. Implant-retained dentures do not require the use of suction and messy denture adhesives.
Adult Tooth Loss is a Serious Problem
Statistics reported by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are sobering: before they reach their 45th birthday, 69% of American adults will have lost at least one permanent tooth. Unfortunately, a great many of these same adults may not understand how detrimental even a single missing tooth can be to the health and stability of their remaining teeth. In fact, missing teeth can negatively impact your smile in three primary ways:
- Dental drift. When you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth will begin to naturally shift toward the empty area left behind, throwing off the normal spacing along your dental arch. As a result, the teeth may become crowded or overlapped, creating hard to clean spaces where plaque can build up and increase your risk for developing gum disease and tooth decay. Furthermore, as your spacing and alignment shift, it can affect the way your top and bottom teeth come together (referred to as “bite” or occlusion). This phenomenon can lead to enamel erosion, teeth grinding, and excessive stress on the TMJ muscles.
- Weakened jawbone. Your teeth and jawbone have a reciprocal relationship. The jawbone anchors the teeth in place via tooth roots, while the roots stimulate the jaw and help maintain a healthy flow of calcium and phosphorus to the area. When you lose a tooth, the body senses the loss and stops sending these critical nutrients to the jaw. As a result, the bone begins to atrophy, leading to a sunken facial appearance and an increased risk of further tooth loss.
- Decreased esthetics. This is just a clinical way of saying missing teeth don’t look good! Even if you’ve lost one of your back teeth, that empty socket will show every time you laugh or speak. Missing teeth make you look older and unhealthy and can have a serious impact on your social, professional, and romantic interactions.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Austin Dentist
We look forward to helping you and your family enjoy happy, healthy smiles. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at (512) 549-4069. Our Austin dentist office proudly provides preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and laser dentistry to families in Austin, Round Rock, and surrounding communities.