A look at what happens when a tooth is lost and the importance of implant dentistry, brought to you by City Smiles in Melbourne.
The goal of modern dentistry is to restore the normal function, comfort, aesthetics, speech and health of the patient. When it comes to tooth decay, this may simply be achieved with a filling, but when it comes to a lost tooth there are significant challenges to the function, look and overall oral health.
Implant dentistry is a unique and permanent restoration option that can help to maintain normal oral health. It may also reduce the negative effects lost teeth can cause.
Dental implants have been steadily increasing in popularity and the need will only continue to increase, due to longer life expectancies and a growing percentage of the population being older than 65.
Consequences of tooth loss (edentulism)
Tooth loss can have serious negative effects, such as:
- Loss of jaw bone density (resorption)
- Negative soft tissue changes
- Negative facial aesthetic changes
- Decreased chewing (mastication) dynamics
- Negative psychological effects
The jawbone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density – stimulation that is normally and naturally supplied through the stresses placed on teeth. After a tooth is lost, the bone decreases on average 25% in width and loses around 4mm in height during the first year alone. Removable and partial dentures do not stimulate the bone and actually accelerate bone resorption.
Changes that occur naturally in relation to ageing can be accelerated by the loss of teeth. The decrease in bone mass has several detrimental effects to both aesthetics and functionality. Facial height may decrease, occlusion (bite) could become malaligned and weak, and the chin may move forward and protrude, causing the appearance of being unhappy when relaxed. Lips may get thinner due to the poor support, and cheeks could hallow and look harsh as heavy jowls develop.
Partial and full dentures
Dentures and bridges do not necessarily stop these negative effects from occurring. Some restorations can put an increased strain on the abutment teeth, which will often cause the need for further extensive work down the track. Patients may experience increased tooth mobility and plaque formation, as well as thinning gums. The bite force may decrease and food selection can become limited. Dentures and bridges can also affect speech and phonetic ability.
A dental implant has proven to be the best possible long-term solution in most cases. Some of the advantages include:
- Maintenance of bone structure and supporting muscles
- Maintained occlusion and the ability to eat hard and soft foods
- Improved cleaning ability which decreases the risk of decay and periodontal disease
- Decreased risk of surrounding tooth damage or loss
- Improved aesthetics and speech ability
- Increased longevity
An implant is better not only in terms of health but also financially. Future savings on dental work will likely offset the higher initial cost. Dental implants are generally the best option for maintaining normal function, comfort, aesthetics, speech and health.
Dental implants at City Smiles in Melbourne
If you have suffered tooth loss and want to know how dental implants could restore your oral function and aesthetics, book a consultation with City Smiles in Melbourne. With an experienced team and affordable care, you don’t have to suffer the negative consequences of lost teeth.
Dental Implant Prosthetics By Carl E. Misch, Elsevier Health Sciences (2014).