Here’s some important information for Austin, Texas, dental patients: If you’re missing teeth – even if you’re missing just one tooth – it’s important to talk to your dentist about how to replace those missing teeth. It may not seem like a major inconvenience to live with a missing tooth or two. But if you don’t replace them, your other remaining teeth will eventually shift places inside your mouth to fill in the gap left behind by the missing teeth. That can result in your teeth wearing down faster than they would otherwise. It can also throw your bite off, and that can result in jaw problems. Difficulties with your jaw, in turn, can lead to headaches, sleep issues, problems chewing food, and can even impact how you speak.
So while it may be tempting to simply live without one tooth or even without a few teeth, it can have long-term negative effects on your health and your overall quality of life. One of the most popular methods to replace missing teeth is with dental implants. These remarkable restorations are suitable for a variety of different purposes, which explains why there are so many different types of dental implants available.
An Introduction to Dental Implants
Types of Dental Implants
In addition to single tooth replacement, dental implants can serve other purposes as well. What follows are brief descriptions of the different types of dental implants available to patients:
- Single tooth implants – The most common type of dental implants are those that are intended to replace a single tooth. The dentist implants a metal post into the space that once held the missing tooth. Several months later, after the metal has fused to the bone tissue, the dentist affixes a crown to the top of the post. The crown is made to exactly match the color of the patient’s natural teeth, so the restoration looks exactly like a regular tooth and functions the same as well. Because implants are permanent restorations, they require no special cleaning or care – the patient simply brushes and flosses as usual.
- Implant-supported bridges – A dental bridge is often an excellent way to replace a few missing teeth. A traditional bridge consists of two or more porcelain crowns mounted onto a metal frame with brackets on each end that attach to the patient’s adjacent natural teeth. But in some instances, when a patient doesn’t have the necessary natural teeth on either side to support the bridge, implants can be used to secure the appliance. Implant-supported bridges are not only exceptionally stable and secure; the implants also help to strengthen the patient’s jawbone tissue.
- Implant dentures – For patients who are missing all of their teeth, or who need to have their teeth extracted for whatever reason, dentures are an effective way to replace those missing teeth. Traditional dentures consist of an upper plate and lower plate, each equipped with a full set of upper and lower teeth. Although dentures can make all the difference in the world for people who have no teeth, they do have their drawbacks. Traditional dentures have a tendency to slip and move around inside the patient’s mouth, making it difficult to eat certain foods and even impacting the way the person speaks. But when dental implants are used to anchor the dentures, the appliance stays firmly in place inside the patient’s mouth, which eliminates many of the problems that people experience with traditional dentures.
Advantages of Dental Implants
When you consider all the advantages of dental implants, it’s no wonder that they’ve become so popular in recent years. Here are a few benefits to consider when deciding whether implants are the right choice for you:
- Implants look like natural teeth. In fact, there’s virtually no way for another person to tell whether it’s an implant or a tooth you were born with.
- Implants don’t restrict your diet. People who wear dentures or bridges often have to restrict their diet due to their appliances slipping and moving around inside the mouth. This will never be a problem with implants since they are (literally) firmly anchored inside the mouth.
- Implants feel natural. Not only do implants look like natural teeth; they feel totally natural to the patient as well.
- Implants don’t require special care. You just brush and floss as you normally would, using all the same dental hygiene products you use now.
- Implants don’t irritate your gums. Appliances like bridges and dentures can be hard on your gums after wearing them for several hours. Fortunately, implants don’t irritate your gum tissue at all.
- Implants help to make your bone tissue stronger. Because bone tissue needs to be stimulated in order to remain healthy, it can be compromised when you lose one or more teeth. Implants help to stimulate the bone, and that makes the tissue stronger.
- Implants last. In fact, if they’re properly cared for implants can last for the lifetime of the patient.
Ask Your Dentist about the Different Types of Dental Implants
If you’re missing one or more teeth, it really is important to choose a method to replace those teeth. Dental implants are an excellent choice for most dental patients. To find out more, contact your Austin, Texas, dentist today and learn about the different types of dental implants.