As we get older, our bodies aren’t as strong as they used to be. It isn’t uncommon to receive diagnoses of osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis, or even experience tooth loss.
Some people assume that a missing tooth or two is common, something that we’ll all have to deal with eventually. A few people even believe they’ll be in full dentures by the time they reach a certain age, simply because others in their family may have experienced that.
But does it have to be that way? Is there a solution for people with missing teeth?
Dental Implants- an ideal solution for a missing Tooth
Thankfully- the answer is yes! Dental implants are playing a vital role in the health of my patients. Those with implants have healthier dentition, as well as stronger facial bone support.
Dental implants are pretty amazing. They are so strong and stable in the jaw bone that people who have them feel like they’re talking and chewing with their original teeth.
How do dental implants work?
1. First, the implant post, made of an incredibly strong metal that is bio-compatible with human bone, is placed into the jaw bone. Once placed, the metal implant integrates into the jaw bone, which means that the bone grows around and fuses to the implant post.
2. After a few months, once the bone and implant have fused, I expose the top of the implant. It shows through the gum just a bit – enough for a dental crown to securely fit on top of it.
3. This dental crown looks, fits, and feels like a real tooth. Patients can floss normally and eat any food they want.
Missing Teeth: How It Impacts Senior Health
All of this talk about implants makes them sound like a wonderful investment – which they are! But some people wonder if dental implants are more of a luxury than a necessity. Do they really need to be concerned with replacing missing teeth?
Definitely! Missing teeth can have an adverse effect on a person’s oral health as well as their general health.
1. Jaw Bone Recession
The teeth act as an anchor for the jaw bone. Without teeth, the jaw has nothing to support. So, it slowly begins to recede. You may have noticed this with people who have worn full dentures for many years. Their jaw bone – particularly the mandible, or the lower jaw – is very thin.
Jaw bone recession doesn’t just happen when people lose all their teeth. It can and will happen with one missing tooth.
The recession won’t necessarily affect the entire jaw bone, but it will affect the bone around the missing tooth. It’s really easy for people with one missing tooth to experience bone loss and gum disease around adjacent teeth. If not properly cared for at home and with the assistance of a dental professional, the problem could escalate and more teeth could be lost.
2. Loss of Vital Nutrients
But missing teeth don’t just affect the mouth – there are general health consequences as well.
The digestive process begins in the mouth. Enzymes in our mouth begin breaking down the food we eat. Chewing breaks the food down even more.
When a person loses a tooth, chewing becomes more difficult. The more teeth that are missing, the more difficult proper chewing becomes. Denture wearers find it even harder to eat because their dentures can become loose and uncomfortable.
Overtime, those who can’t chew their food properly will end up losing out on vital nutrients. Some have even lost interest in eating altogether, which compounds the nutrient problem.
But when patients replace missing teeth with dental implants or invest in implant supported dentures, chewing is easier and nutrients are more likely to be absorbed.
How dental implants can benefit those with dentures
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, almost 28% of seniors are fully edentulous. That’s quite a few people who are dealing with dentures, and one of the reasons why so many people think that losing a teeth or ending up with dentures later in life is something that is common to most people.
For those who already live with dentures, I want to encourage you to consider implant dentures.
Implant developers have created what’s known as implant supported dentures. This means that fully edentulous seniors can now be candidates for implants.
How implant dentures work
1. We start with implant surgery. Four to six implants are placed on your upper arch and four to six are placed in the lower jaw bone as well.
2.The dentures have clips that fit onto the implants. They snap into place, like a snap-button shirt.
Not only do these dentures keep the bone strong, they keep the dentures secure. Eating is much easier and the dentures won’t become loose or fall out. It’s an ideal long-term solution for denture wearers.
Consider Restoring Your Missing Teeth with Implants
If you have a missing tooth or teeth, I urge you to consider getting dental implants from my Meyer Dental Group Des Plaines dental office. Dental implants will help keep your jaw bone healthy and allow you to chew foods thoroughly – an absolute must for proper digestion.
I invite you to come in for a complimentary consultation. Together, we can find the best solution for your dental needs.
Are you interested in replacing missing teeth with dental implants? Contact my Des Plaines dental office for more information about this procedure.