Dental implants can be an attractive option for replacing one or more lost teeth. An older, traditional replacement technique involves placing a crown on a single tooth that is damaged or discolored, or in the case of multiple lost teeth, using a dental bridge. A dental bridge is a kind of denture that attaches to existing natural teeth and "bridges" the gap where the lost teeth once were.
The benefits of dental implants over previous methods
One of the most significant advantages dental implants offer is that they protect existing teeth. The dental implant takes the place of the root of the lost tooth, which preserves bone density at the site. The bone of the jaw is prevented from deteriorating, which usually occurs in the case of a lost tooth. Without bone loss, the adjacent natural teeth are protected and given more support by a stable jawbone.
When a dental bridge is used to fill in the space left behind by missing teeth, not only is there some bone loss at the site of the missing teeth, but the natural teeth around the bridge have to support it. This can put a strain on those teeth, and the way the bridge is attached can make the surrounding teeth more difficult to keep clean. The bridge itself can slip or, in some cases, become dislodged. This usually requires a visit to the dentist to rectify.
In the case of using a crown to cover a damaged or discolored tooth, the natural tooth is shaped to receive the crown, and the crown is placed over it. It can sometimes be difficult to match the exact color of the teeth surrounding it. Additionally, crowns can sometimes become dislodged, and they are not as permanent as one might think –– even well-made dental crowns and bridges require replacement every 10 to 15 years.
Implants are more versatile and can last a lifetime
Another great benefit of dental implants is their longevity. Implants require very little in terms of maintenance –– routine brushing and flossing are all that is required. This is perhaps the biggest benefit that implants have over traditional crowns and bridges. With the right care, high-quality dental implants can last a lifetime.
Dental implants are also more versatile than bridges. When using a bridge to replace missing teeth, a dentist will need healthy adjacent teeth to support the bridge. With dental implants, various combinations are possible, and they don't rely at all on the teeth around them. With implants, a dentist can replace a single missing natural tooth or several, even if they are not adjacent.
Dental implants are an attractive, more permanent option
When considering how to replace lost or damaged teeth, it is best to consult with a qualified dentist to learn about all of your available options. Most people are good candidates for tooth replacement using dental implants, and since they present several significant benefits over older, more traditional methods, they are something worth looking into.
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