For many years, I’ve been a proponent of dental implants. Not only have I completed advanced training in this area of dentistry, I have been a long-time member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), achieving Associate Fellowship status in this world-renowned organization.
Over the past 4-5 decades, we’ve seen dramatic leaps in the technology and techniques surrounding implant dentistry. However, as a dentist, the most satisfying part of providing this advanced tooth replacement option is what I see in my patients.
When patients are able to bite, chew, laugh and speak confidently again, it gives people who once struggled with missing teeth, partials, or dentures an entirely new framework for the daily functions we often take for granted.
Take, for instance, the ability to eat without worry. Because dental implants are anchored by the jaw bone, they recreate the same stability and dependability of natural teeth. Not only does this allow people to savor the foods they love again (a crisp apple, a thick steak, etc.), they can enjoy the satisfaction of eating without uncomfortable rubbing on tender gums.
When people feel encumbered during the process of biting and chewing, they also tend to avoid foods that may pose challenges to stability or lead to discomfort. Things that require rigorous chewing, such as some fresh fruits and vegetables, may be avoided. Alternatives are typically soft foods that dissolve quickly in the mouth. Unfortunately, these can be lacking in the nutritional and fiber benefits found in a diet that encompasses a wider variety of colors, textures, flavors, and chewing satisfaction.
I once had a patient who shared how he used to love a chewy breakfast bagel coated with seeds with his morning coffee. After realizing that his partials were undependable when chewing – in addition to experiencing pain when seeds became trapped beneath them – he started ordering biscuits and gravy. Dental implants restored his ability to relish his favorite breakfast food again, and more.
Additionally, when eating occurs without worry, people are more apt to be socially involved. Because gatherings often include food as the centerpiece, dental implants remove the sense of worry or fear of embarrassing slips. Not only does this encourage people to stay active with others, it’s beneficial to our need for mental stimulation.
In an article posted by the American Society on Aging, “What Social Relationships Can Do For Health” shared: “Social relationships have as much impact on physical health as blood pressure, smoking, physical activity, and obesity, as demonstrated in 1988 by House, Landis, and Umberson.” (http://www.asaging.org/blog/what-social-relationships-can-do-health)
The article goes on to share an overview of key findings on health and positive social relationships. It reveals how positive and negative aspects of social relationships can truly impact our health. (http://asaging.org/blog/health-effects-negative-social-exchanges-later-life)
At Riverside Dental Arts in downtown Wilmington, we perform many crown-&-bridge procedures to replacing one or several missing teeth in one area. While this option is ideal for some people, it’s important to know that the bridge is supported by its attachment to crowned teeth on each side. With dental implants, the support comes from being held by the jaw bone. This restores the same foundation of natural teeth.
Another benefit of dental implants is what takes place beneath the gums. Because implants restore the presence of a tooth root, of sorts, they are able to recreate stimulation to the jaw bone that supports it. This helps the bone to maintain its mass so the implant patient avoids the repercussions of bone loss.
When bone loss occurs from the absence of natural tooth roots, the results can even be seen in the mirror. For example, bone loss leads to deep wrinkling around the mouth, jowls, a sunken in mouth, pointed chin, and mouth that seems to collapse into the face — all features that are aging to one’s appearance, far beyond one’s actual years.
Bone loss is also what causes a once snug-fitting denture or partial to move when chewing. Although denture adhesives and pastes help, bone loss will only become more severe and more challenging to denture and partial wearers over time. I’ve even known some new patients who admitted they would take their denture out so they could eat.
We also have a number of people who have lost a single tooth (or need to have one removed) who’ve opted for dental implants. In addition to restoring appearance, implants allow them to protect the health and structure of neighboring teeth.
And, bite alignment is also enhanced when all teeth work harmoniously. A missing teeth enables shifting and tilting of other teeth. This can result in chipped, broken, fractured, and worn teeth.
As far as cost goes, yes – dental implants seem like a more expensive option than other methods of tooth replacement. However, that’s because the fees associated with implant treatment are all up front. Once in place and restored, however, your implant is designed to last as long as you do! With proper care, there are no cavities to occur, no root canals, no breakage, and no replacement needed.
When dental implants are chosen by an experienced implant dentist that are appropriate to your unique needs, your potential for a lifelong, successful result is significant. Here, we pride ourselves on the high success rate of our dental implant patients. Having the benefits of their “own teeth” again restores their ability to enjoy the everyday pleasures that make life complete!
If you’ve considered dental implants for yourself, then also consider starting with a no-charge consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the implant system that may be best for you, anticipated costs, affordable payment plans, comfort options, and treatment time. I’ll answer your questions thoroughly so you can make the decision that’s right for your individual needs and goals.
I believe that every person should be able to enjoy the pleasures of eating and laughing as well as a smile they feel is ‘worry free.’ Call 910-254-4555 to arrange a consultation to help you reach this goal, or simply tap here to begin.