If you have lost one or more teeth, you have several options to replace them. You can choose a removable partial denture, a fixed dental bridge, or an implant-supported restoration. Although all of these choices are good in some ways, the dental implant has one important distinction: it is better for your remaining natural teeth. If you are looking to preserve more of your natural teeth for the future, a dental implant is your best choice.
Implants Support Themselves
One of the biggest differences between implants and other tooth replacements is that dental implants support themselves. Other tooth replacement options are supported in whole or in part by neighboring teeth.
With a dental bridge, we support the replacement tooth by putting crowns on top of neighboring teeth. The bridge distributes biting and chewing force across its entire length to the supporting teeth. This increases the force that those teeth must bear.
Removable partial dentures partly rest on the gums, but they also typically have hooks and clasps to help them hold on to your natural teeth. This helps keep them in place.
But dental implants support themselves by being attached directly to your jawbone. This means that your natural teeth experience no additional burden from this tooth replacement. That helps your natural teeth stay healthy for longer.
Implants Stimulate Bone
Because dental implants are attached to your jaw bone, they stimulate the jaw bone the way your natural teeth do. Other tooth replacements do not stimulate the bone.
It is important to stimulate your jawbone because the jaw is dynamic. It regularly remodels itself in response to the forces it experiences (that is what lets the bones reshape around your teeth so orthodontic treatment can move them). Without stimulation, the body removes bone, a process called resorption. In fact, some removable dentures can even speed the process of resorption if they are not properly fitted. When bone gets removed under a dental bridge or denture, the neighboring teeth can be affected, too, which can make them more vulnerable to loss.
Implants Are Easy to Clean
As you have probably learned, keeping your teeth clean is critical to keeping them at all. Dental implants can help with this. A single crown dental implant is almost exactly like your natural teeth. It will not trap or catch extra food or bacteria next to your natural teeth. And you can just brush and floss as you do your natural teeth.
If you are replacing more than two adjacent teeth with dental implants, you will have a dental bridge supported by implants. This has basically the same challenges to cleaning as a dental bridge. You might have to take some extra care cleaning under the bridge.
But neither of these replacements creates the cleaning challenge of a removable denture. Removable dentures can trap food against your natural teeth, thanks to the clasps that support the denture. This can happen even if you remove your denture for eating, although this dramatically reduces the problem.
Keep More of Your Teeth for Longer
The experience of losing a tooth can be traumatic. It is an emotional blow, like losing a limb. One of the worst things about losing a tooth is the sense that you might soon be losing more. In some cases, there is no way to avoid that. However, in other cases, we can preserve more of your natural teeth by replacing a lost tooth or teeth with dental implants.
If you are looking to preserve as many of your natural teeth as possible–and getting a beautiful, fully functional tooth replacement–we can help. Please call (314) 375-5353 today for an appointment with a St. Louis implant dentist at City Smiles, with offices downtown and in Clayton, MO.