Lost teeth happen; it’s a fact of life. According to the American Dental Association, the average adult in Charlotte, NC has three or more decayed or missing teeth. Some people with gaps in their smile feel self-conscious, but many reasons exist for missing teeth that are beyond your control. Athletic injuries or other accidents that knock out teeth are more common than you might think. Then there are bite injuries where a tooth is cracked unbeknownst to the person, and then biting down on a hard item causes the tooth to break off. Even tongue rings lead to lost teeth!
What Happens with Missing Teeth?
From the moment a tooth is lost or extracted, the clock is ticking. The most immediate effects, especially with front teeth, are cosmetic and/or functional as a missing tooth may affect how you speak or chew. No one wants to look like the grizzled, old prospector with only a handful of teeth or develop a speaking impediment.
But even if you can tolerate those impacts, the long-term effects can be more extreme. Over time, the teeth around the gap may begin to shift and become misaligned. Surrounding teeth may become loose and in danger of themselves being lost. But worse, functioning teeth are vital for jaw-bone health – missing teeth will eventually cause the bone in your jaw to deteriorate, leading to facial changes and making the problem more challenging to correct.
The Good News about Dental Implants
In the past, the only ways to address lost teeth were either a dental bridge or dentures. A dental bridge is a device that fills the gap between teeth by being anchored to the teeth on either side of the gap. Traditional dentures aren’t anchored but sit on top of your gums. As you can imagine, neither of these solutions can be considered lasting, and dentures still don’t address the problem of bone deterioration.
Dental implants, in contrast, rectify all the issues caused by missing teeth. Implants are secured to your jaw such that the bone grows around the implant, naturally incorporating it into your mouth. Then, your dentist will use this as the foundation for a new dental crown or restoration that blends seamlessly with your smile. Implants don’t slip or shift. Properly maintained, they can last a lifetime.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you have one or more missing teeth, don’t delay; contact us today. Your Charlotte, NC dentist can determine if dental implants are right for you. So give us a call and make an appointment; your mouth will thank you.