If you’re missing a tooth or need to have a damaged or decayed tooth extracted, you may think you don’t need to replace it once it’s gone. However, you have more to worry about than the crown portion of the tooth above the gumline, because the tooth roots also serve an important function. Without the tooth root under the gumline stimulating the jawbone, you can face a whole host of dental problems that only get worse unless you have a dental implant placed. Although dental implants are not the only option to replace missing teeth, they are by far the most effective, natural looking, and long-lasting solution.
When you have a missing tooth, your dentist will likely recommend implants to replace it, because they are the only tooth replacement option that serves the function of stimulating the jawbone. The artificial tooth root, a titanium dental implant, fuses with the jawbone to serve as a strong anchor for the connecting ceramic crown that looks and functions just like a real tooth. Dental implants mimic natural teeth because they stand on their own without affecting the adjacent teeth, and they have great stability; but, the same cannot be said for other tooth replacement options like dentures. Another reason dentures are less desirable for many patients is because they are inconvenient and can affect a person’s sense of taste and their sensory experience of eating.
Dental implants are very stable and durable, and can also be used to support removable dentures. This is a more economical option than having individual dental implants placed at the site of each missing tooth. It also provides a more secure, comfortable fit for the removable prosthetic teeth. In fact, patients missing all of the teeth can be good candidates for the “All-on-4” technique that uses 4 dental implants to replace all the teeth in either the upper or lower arch of teeth. These implants are strategically placed so they are in very solid areas of the jawbone. The All-on-4 technique can help patients who are looking for teeth that look and feel natural compared to traditional/complete removable dentures.