Implant dentistry was first introduced in the US in the 1960s as a permanent solution to tooth loss, and since then it’s grown to be one of the most popular treatments for tooth loss today. But patients often ask us if treatment is really necessary – while missing a tooth is certainly an inconvenience, is it that much of a health risk? What happens if someone foregoes dental implants and goes without treatment for a missing tooth?
While a missing tooth may seem like a merely cosmetic issue, the truth is that left untreated, it can cause major problems for your gums, jawbone, and even your surrounding teeth. That’s because in addition to more obvious things like chewing and speaking, teeth also play a role in your gum and jawbone health. Tooth roots fuse and intertwine with the tissues in both the gum and the jawbone, acting as a stimulus for the production of healthy bone and gum tissue. Without that stimulus, gums and jaws can recede – sometimes to the point of compromising the health of your entire dental arch. Dental implants stop this recession and act as a catalyst for new growth, safeguarding the rest of your smile from decay.
Implants also help to guard against a number of other problems. If a tooth is missing, the teeth around it can shift into the gap it leaves, causing a malocclusion, or “bad bite” – a condition where the teeth don’t align properly. This can negatively impact chewing and speaking, but it can also cause a condition called bruxism, the clenching and grinding of teeth. While grinding and clenching usually starts as a subconscious act during sleep, it can often progress into a habit that happens throughout the day and night – and this places major stress on the teeth and jaws. It can also wear down enamel or even cause a tooth to break, which requires extensive endodontic therapy to prevent infection. And all of this can come from just one lost tooth!
Dental implants stop the risk for all of these problems. Through a process called osseointegration, the titanium in implants literally fuses to the jawbone, encouraging growth of healthy gum and jawbone tissue and safeguard the health of the dental arch. Dental implants are an effective way not only to replace a missing tooth with a natural-looking substitute, but also to safeguard the health of the overall smile – and without them, the consequences can be severe.
Have more questions about implant therapy or want to come in for an appointment? We’re happy to help. Feel free to learn more about the benefits of dental implants, call us at 702.367.6666 with any questions, or reach out to us at our contact page to schedule an appointment at our Las Vegas, NV office. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to seeing you back at this blog for more tips and information on maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile.
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