Are you missing one or more teeth? You’re not alone. The American College of Prosthodontists reports about 178 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and about 35 million men and women have lost all their teeth. The primary culprit: Gum disease, a progressive disease that starts with very few symptoms and can quickly progress to a much more serious condition that threatens the tooth roots and the bone tissue that supports them.
What Causes Gum Disease
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is caused by an invasion of harmful bacteria that build up along the gum line, typically forming in plaque or hardened deposits of tartar. These bacteria release toxins as they multiply, and that causes the gum tissue to shrink or pull away from the tooth surfaces, exposing the deeper portions of the tooth to disease. Over time, the bacteria move down the tooth surface, eventually reaching the root pockets where they can cause infection, root loosening and tooth loss. Gum disease is endemic in the U.S. – in fact, it’s the top cause of adult tooth loss.
Bridges and Dentures
There’s no doubt replacing a missing tooth with a bridge or a denture can restore function and improve aesthetics following tooth loss. But they can’t do anything to prevent underlying jaw bone loss that occurs once a tooth is missing. And that means additional tooth loss is far more likely to occur.
Like any tissue in the body, bone tissue is constantly replenishing itself; as old, worn bone “dies off,” it’s replaced with new, strong bone tissue. In the jaw, that replenishment process is dependent on stimulation from the tooth root. Once the root is gone, the bone no longer receives the simulation it needs to replenish itself, so old, worn tissue is no longer replaced and the jaw bone in that area becomes very thin and weak. Over time, atrophy can affect the bone that supports the neighboring teeth, and that means they’re far more likely to fall out as well.
Implants Stop the Cascade of Tooth Loss
When it comes to halting the “domino effect” of tooth loss due to periodontal disease, dental implants are a far superior solution. Implants use a metal post implanted into the bone to support a prosthetic tooth. In addition to providing more secure fit and a more natural “feel,” the post acts like a natural tooth root to promote bone replenishment over time. As a result, the bones supporting neighboring teeth aren’t subjected to the consequences of atrophy, so the risk of tooth loss is substantially decreased.
Implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth or to replace several, and they can also be used to anchor dentures and bridges.
It’s true, dental implants cost more than dentures or bridges, but increased demand has lowered the price considerably, and besides, considering implants can help prevent additional tooth loss, they can wind up costing a lot less in the long run.
Where Can I Find Dental Implants Near Me?
If you’re missing one or more teeth, dental implants can play an important role in preventing future tooth loss and improving your overall oral health. Empire Dental is a leading provider of state-of-the-art dental implants in NJ, using the most advanced techniques and materials so patients can feel confident in their results. To find out more about dental implants and how they can help you enjoy better oral health, call Empire Dental at 732-607-0909 and schedule an office visit today.