The treatment period may be longer, but dental implants offer benefits that other techniques don’t.
Losing a tooth can be traumatic for the person involved and this is especially the case if the missing tooth is one of the ‘social six’ teeth that are visible when we smile.
Very few people will choose not to replace the missing tooth with an artificial one when this happens, but there are also strong arguments for replacing a non visible tooth too. Although the gap may not be seen by others, losing a non visible tooth can cause a number of potential problems, including:
- Other teeth encroaching into the space, leaving teeth crooked
- Thinning of the bone in that area, potentially causing facial changes
- Chewing and grinding of food with other teeth that are not designed for that purpose. This can lead to premature wearing down of these teeth
- Compensation made for a missing tooth can lead to bite problems and also potentially TMJ, a painful jaw disorder
Whether you can see a missing tooth or not then, it is strongly advised that a replacement be sought.
Dentures and bridges
Before we take a look at what dental implants can offer for our Ipswich patients, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of two of the most popular alternatives; dentures and dental bridges.
Dentures are still the most widely used tooth replacement method and they do have certain advantages in that they often require no dental surgery at all. This makes them especially popular with patients who are anxious about receiving dental treatment. Modern dentures are also more natural looking and comfortable than dentures of old. There are still drawbacks to this method though, and most denture wearers will admit to at least some degree of dissatisfaction with them. One of the main problems for some people is their lack of stability which can cause them to move around a little when eating. Not only does this make it more difficult to eat certain foods, but the friction involved can lead to soreness of the gums as well.
Bridges have an advantage over dentures in that they are more stable. The biggest disadvantage in this method is that their fitting often requires the teeth either side of the gap to be shaped in order to secure the bridge by means of dental crowns. Where these teeth are healthy and strong, it is not surprising that many patients are reluctant to have this done.
For both of the methods above, cleaning the replacement teeth involves more effort and can be quite tricky. Additionally, neither method resolves the problem of bone loss in the area of the missing teeth and in particular, this is a significant reason why dentures become less stable over time.