Dental implants are the best option in a number of different situations. They are a permanent solution that can help you preserve bone structure in your jaw, replace an injured tooth, and provide an anchor for other dental work. If most of your teeth are still healthy dental implants can be considered before looking at the possibility of dentures. Ultimately, you and your prosthodontist will decide together if dental implants are the best option for your situation. But, understanding when they are an option will help you as you get started on this process.
To help preserve bone structure
The bone structure of your jaw can start to waste away when you lose teeth. The roots of your teeth help provide stability to your mouth and jaw. When that extra structure is removed it can be problematic. Dental implants can help preserve bone structure when you have lost teeth. The post of the implant is put directly into the jaw bone and they eventually fuse together. This process can help preserve bone structure that would otherwise waste away with no intervention.
When you need to replace an injured tooth
One of the most common situations where dental implants are needed is after an injury. It is not always immediately obvious when a tooth injury is going to result in a tooth loss. A cracked tooth may not look serious on the surface but may end up being serious once the x-rays are examined. Injuries that extend into the root of the tooth can lead to tooth death over time. Any time a tooth injury will result in the inevitable death of the tooth dental implants should be explored as a possibility. An implant may be the best option in this type of situation because it can function in the same ways as the natural tooth did before injury.
If you need an anchor for other dental work
Dental implants can act as anchors for other types of dental work. For example, a removable or permanent bridge needs a stable tooth to anchor to in order to remain securely inside the mouth. If there is not a healthy tooth in close proximity to act as that anchor then an implant could be a good option. Because the implant is placed into the jawbone, it can provide all of the stability of a natural tooth.
When surrounding teeth are healthy
If you are missing the majority of your teeth or have a lot of damaged teeth then dentures may be the best option for you. But, if you have a missing tooth that is surrounded by healthy teeth a dental implant could be the best choice. An empty space between your natural teeth can lead to more problems down the line. Your healthy teeth can start to shift and cause problems with your bite-eventually leading to issues eating and potentially causing pain. Dental implants may be the best option in this type of situation because they will protect the integrity of your natural teeth and allow you to function normally.
Dental implants can make a positive difference in your life if you have missing or injured teeth. They can help keep your jaw and remaining healthy teeth in good condition. In addition, dental implants can make it possible for you to get other dental devices that you need by acting as anchors. If you are currently dealing with any of the situations mentioned above it is time to talk to your dentist about dental implants. You may find that they are the best option for your particular situation.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.