How Dental Implants Can Improve Oral Health

When you lose a tooth, it's not just your physical appearance that suffers. Many people who lose teeth also suffer from a decline in oral health. Understanding why this happens and what you can do to fix the problem can help you take care of your teeth. Here's what you need to know.

What is an implant?

An implant is a prosthetic tooth attached to a titanium post that has been inserted into the jaw. Implants are permanent, so they can't be removed like a denture. Implants look and function just like other teeth. Like other teeth, they must be cleaned and maintained. Implants are an excellent way to replace teeth that have been lost.

How can implants improve oral health?

Implants are known to improve oral health in a variety of ways.

Implants reduce bacteria in the mouth

When you lose a tooth, a large hole is left in the gums. This hole can be hard to clean, so it quickly becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria is the cause of many problems in the mouth, including gingivitis, periodontal disease and bad breath. The only way to ensure that this hole is kept clean is to fill it in with a tooth. Implants function just like teeth and help prevent bacteria from building up in the mouth.

Implants are better for the mouth than other options

Implants aren't the only way to fill in a hole where a tooth has been lost. Some people who lose teeth will turn to partials or even to full dentures. Partials are dentures that are anchored to other teeth. Partials are used by people who have only lost one or two teeth. Full dentures are a full set of teeth that is worn daily and removed at night.

Partials and dentures may be better than having no teeth at all, but they aren't without problems. Dentures can rub, causing painful sores in the mouth. They also need to be replaced periodically as the mouth changes shape. Meanwhile, partials can be hard on the teeth to which they're attached.

Using implants helps prevent these sores and other problems. Once an implant has been successfully inserted and the body has healed, they do not cause the problems that other prosthetic teeth can cause.

Keep the teeth in place

The teeth are kept in place by pressure from other teeth. When a tooth goes missing, this causes the teeth to shift slowly over time. As teeth surrounding the missing tooth move to fill in the gap, this can cause changes in the bite that stress the teeth, leading to problems.

Reduce problems from cavities

The space where two teeth touch one another is protected space. When one tooth vacates the area, this exposes bits of the enamel that were once protected, causing a film to develop. This film can turn into plaque, which subsequently can cause tooth decay. These areas can be difficult to clean because they're hard for toothbrushes to reach. Filling in the space with an implant can prevent these problems from occurring.

Protect the jaw

The jaw is stimulated by pressure from the jawbone. When a tooth goes missing, this stimulation stops, causing the bone to weaken. Over time, this can contribute to a variety of problems, including the deterioration of the bone. This can have a domino effect on the mouth, causing breakage, weakening of the bone around the other teeth, and even loss of teeth in the vicinity of the empty hole. Putting an implant in the mouth can fix this problem by keeping the jawbone stimulated and healthy.

Contact Your Dentist

At Kerry M. Bloom, D.D.S., we help patients take care of their teeth. With gum recession treatments, implant surgery and other techniques, we help our patients keep a beautiful smile and maintain proper oral hygiene. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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