Until recently, there were only a few options for tooth replacement if you lost one of your permanent teeth. Bridges and dentures used to be the only way to restore your smile to its normal, healthy and youthful appearance, but both these options require a lot of maintenance and don’t provide the same functionality and benefits as natural teeth.
Dental implants are a long-lasting, modern solution for tooth loss that preserve your oral health while also maintaining the feel and function of normal teeth. Dr. James P. Furgurson is a leading implant and cosmetic dentist in Chapel Hill, NC who has many years of experience helping patients restore their smile and confidence.
1. Implants last a lifetime
Because they are surgically implanted in the jawbone and bond with the bone tissue there, dental implants can last for the rest of your life with proper care. The false tooth mounted atop the implant, called the crown, may need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear, but the titanium implant screw inserted into the jaw lasts many years. You will still need to visit your dentist for regular check-ups to make sure your implant is still functioning correctly, however.
2. Dental implants keep your jawbone healthy
While replacing missing teeth to restore your smile may seem like only a cosmetic concern, having a gap in your set of teeth can actually cause the bone tissue in your jaw to recede. This can potentially place your neighboring teeth or the jawbone structure itself at risk, and can lead to your mouth having a sunken appearance or even more complicated dental problems. Dental implants serve as the root of the missing tooth, which keeps the surrounding teeth in the right place and preserves the health and structure of your jawbone.
3. Implants protect healthy teeth
In addition to keeping your jawbone healthy, dental implants help the teeth surrounding the missing tooth. Dental bridges, one of the older, more established methods of tooth replacement, require grinding down the enamel on the surrounding teeth to serve as an anchor for the bridge. Because implants are placed directly into the jawbone and do not need to be anchored by other teeth, the neighboring teeth do not need to be altered in any way.
4. Implants feel and function like natural teeth
Dental implants allow you to eat and brush your teeth just as you would with your natural teeth. Other tooth replacement options such as bridges and removable dentures require specialized care and cleaning and are generally less comfortable than implants. Unlike bridges, dental implants can be cleaned just like your natural teeth and do not require any additional care. After awhile, you may even forget you have them!