In the past, dentures, partial dentures, and bridges were the only option for replacing missing teeth. Today, thanks to dental implants, there are alternatives to these prosthetics that offer more natural feel and functionality. Dental implants first came into widespread use about 30 years ago, and have since revolutionized how we deal with lost teeth. Rather than sitting over the site of missing teeth, as dentures and bridges do, implant-based prosthetics actually replace the whole tooth, all the way down to the root!
Would you like to learn more about dental implants? Contact our Travelers Rest dental practice at 864-836-8416 for an appointment. At Carolina Oaks Dental Care, Dr. Preston Hamrick will assess your oral health and help you determine whether dental implants may be right for you.
A dental implant consists of a biocompatible titanium base, which is surgically embedded into the empty socket where a natural tooth root once sat. Once the site has healed and the implant has fused with the jaw bone, an abutment can be placed on the base. From there, either a porcelain crown can be attached (to replace a single missing tooth) or four or more bases can be used as the attachment site for implant dentures or partials.
Comfort and Dependability
This is perhaps the most important benefit to dental implants. Dentures often slip loose, as they are only connected to the gums via suction and adhesives. This can make eating and speaking with others an embarrassing proposition. It can also limit the different types of food you can enjoy. With implant-based dentures, however, these things will never happen. Implant dentures are securely attached to your jaw, and will feel and act more like natural teeth.
Traditional dentures can also be uncomfortable. The dimensions of your mouth change over time, which leads to an imperfect fit. This can lead to gum soreness and oral lesions if dentures are not relined. Since implant-based dentures prevent changes to your jaw bone, they will always fit perfectly.
Even with a single tooth, patients find that a dental implant means a tooth replacement that feels and acts like your original tooth.
Since implant-based prosthetics function more like natural teeth, your appearance will not be altered negatively. No more will movement in the mouth call attention to slipping dentures, and no more will an unnatural looking bridge call attention to your teeth. Porcelain crowns are permanently attached to single implants, and sometimes even a dentist won’t even be able to tell the difference.
More Years of Dependable Use
The process for getting dental implants may be more involved than that of traditional prosthetics, but the payoff is years of seamless use. You won’t need to have dentures relined, and you won’t need to have a new bridge constructed to adapt to changes in your gum tissue. For many patients, once the process is complete, the restoration will last a lifetime.
No Diminishing Bone Tissue
The most unpleasant fact of losing teeth is jawbone diminishment. When tooth roots are no longer present in the jaw, our body initiates a resource-conserving process that slowly shrinks your lower jaw. The process may take ten or more years before major changes are seen, but it is one of the most dramatic signs of aging. Thanks to implants, you can avoid this negative outcome entirely. Since implants replace teeth, crown to root, your body will continue to support healthy bone tissue in the lower jaw.
A Versatile Solution
In the past, the only prosthetic option for a single missing tooth was a bridge. Bridges are excellent restorations, but in some cases they can put stress on the healthy teeth surrounding a gap. Today, a patient missing a single tooth has more options. Similarly, getting dentures often meant extracting healthy teeth if a partial denture was not an option. Today, however, dental implants supporting a partial denture can also be used for a full denture if it is needed in the future. Overall, this versatile tool means dentists have more flexibility in how they approach your unique situation. In many cases, implant solutions can be more conservative than those of the past.
To learn more about dental implants, contact our Travelers Rest dental practice at 864-836-8416 for an appointment. At Carolina Oaks Dental Care, Dr. Preston Hamrick will assess your oral health and help you determine whether dental implants are the right solution for you.