Tooth loss is a prevalent dental health problem that can have a variety of causes, including trauma and infection. For example, untreated tooth decay and gum disease can lead to tooth loss over the long run. Other times, our permanent natural teeth never grow into position. Some of us simply don’t have a certain tooth, so when the baby tooth falls out there’s nothing there to replace it. Whatever the cause, it’s important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible, because tooth loss can lead to a variety of dental and general health problems including infection, bone loss, and depression.
One of the best replacement options available to you is the dental implant, which can comprehensively tackle many of the health problems associated with tooth loss. In Santa Rosa, Dr. Harry Albers helps explain what some of these issues are and how tooth implants can help solve them.
Missing Teeth and Dental Infection
Tooth loss can create large gaps between our teeth, which in turn are susceptible to the buildup of food debris when we eat. These food traps, as they are sometimes called, can be difficult to keep clean, because there are additional surfaces that need to be brushed and flossed, and sometimes these surfaces can be hard-to-reach. The result is a poorer than average dental hygiene routine. When we aren’t careful to clean out any debris left over from our meals, the result is an increase in risk for cavities and gum disease.
Infections like tooth decay — also known as a cavity or dental caries — are caused by microscopic bacteria that live in our mouth. These bacteria will convert leftover debris into acid, which in turn wear down dental enamel. Over time, cavities can develop and threaten the viability of the tooth and extreme tooth decay can require an extraction, in which case the new gap will also need to be replaced by a dental implant.
By filling the original gap with an implant, you can help avoid tooth decay and the disease’s nasty consequences by plugging the hole in your smile. Furthermore, dental implants are cleaned just like natural teeth, with brush, floss, and the regular trip to the dentist, meaning no unnecessary complications to your hygiene routine. With dental implants, keeping your smile healthy is easy.
How Dental Implants Stop Bone Loss
Our teeth serve the essential purpose of stimulating bone regeneration in the jawbone. Every time you speak or eat, or use your jaw in any way, your teeth create tiny microscopic tears in the jaw’s bone tissue. This incites a bone growth process, during which the jaw repairs old tissue by generating new bone. Tooth loss eliminates this connection between the teeth and the jaw, and the affected areas of the bone will begin to experience deterioration. Over time, the jawbone can endure so much damage that the face will begin to sink in and the skin around the jawline will begin to wrinkle.
Dental implants not only help stop this process, but they can also help reverse bone loss. Because embedding the implant into the jaw also strains the neighboring bone tissue, the procedure will also incite bone regeneration and the healing that comes with it. Many of our San Jose patients often see their wrinkles smooth out, as the jaw regains its full volume and density and the skin begins to tighten around the restored jawline.
The Relationship Between Missing Teeth and Depression
Our smiles play an important role in determining our happiness. Not only can an imperfect smile directly affect our self-image, it can also influence how others perceive us. The result may be a diminished sense of self-confidence. In support of this, studies have found a strong link between tooth loss and depression and anxiety. Emotional health problems caused by poor dental health can in turn lead to a vicious cycle, where the patient begins to neglect his or her dental hygiene.
Dental implants are amazing in that they look and feel like real, natural teeth. By replacing missing teeth, implants can seamlessly restore your smile, allowing you to show off your movie star grin without having the anxiety related to flashing your friends with a toothless smile.
Safeguard Your Dental Health with Dental Implants
Dental implants are the leaders amongst tooth replacement treatments in terms of health benefits. They can comprehensively address the many health complications associated with tooth loss, including infection, bone loss, and emotional health problems. What’s remarkable is that their benefits don’t end there, because they also come with a host of cosmetic advantages. If you are missing one or more teeth and are ready to take the next step towards a strong, healthy, and beautiful smile, contact our Santa Rosa practice today to schedule your free one-on-one consultation.