How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Oral Health

Jul 14, 2022
How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Oral Health
A missing tooth doesn’t just affect your ability to eat normally and smile with confidence — it also diminishes your oral health. While all dental restorations help improve oral aesthetics and function, only implants can protect your oral health.

Epidemiological studies reveal that 178 million people in the United States — or more than two in five American adults — have lost at least one permanent tooth. If you’re missing one or more teeth, you know how it affects your chewing ability (oral function) and the appearance of your smile (oral aesthetics). 

But did you know that just one missing tooth can also trigger a cascade of negative oral health effects, starting with localized bone tissue loss and jawbone shrinkage? When there’s a gap in your smile, you’re also more likely to experience abnormal dental wear patterns, shifting teeth, bite alignment changes, jaw pain, tooth decay, and gum disease. 

While you have a range of tooth replacement options to choose from, only one solution — dental implants — can completely restore oral aesthetics, function, and health. 

At Westchase Esthetic Family Dentistry in Tampa, Florida, our seasoned team of restorative dental experts recommend dental implants whenever they’re a viable option. Read on as Dr. Juliet Bulnes-Newton explains why they’re the best tooth replacement choice for your oral health.   

Implants prevent jawbone tissue loss

Every natural tooth in your mouth has a strong, healthy root that fueled its development and keeps it firmly attached to your jawbone. But a tooth’s root doesn’t only serve the tooth itself; it also stimulates the surrounding bone tissue to help sustain strong, healthy jawbones.

When you lose a tooth, the empty socket of bone tissue no longer receives the stimulation it needs to remodel and rebuild itself at a normal, continuous rate. As time goes on, the empty jawbone area begins to shrink and recede.

A dental implant is an artificial replacement root that can effectively prevent or reverse this trend. Made of biocompatible, long-lasting titanium, it’s surgically set into your jawbone, where — just like a natural tooth root — it stimulates the surrounding bone tissue to promote strong, healthy jawbones. No other tooth restoration (bridges or dentures) can accomplish this.

Implants preserve proper bite alignment

Bone loss isn’t the only oral health consequence of having one or more gaps in your smile. Missing teeth can cause the adjacent teeth around the gaps to “drift,” or shift toward the gap. Or, the extra space along your gumline can prompt your remaining neighboring teeth to turn inward or outward and become crooked.

Whenever your natural teeth begin to drift or turn around a gap, it can trigger a whole host of more complex oral health problems — your bite may become totally misaligned, and as you compensate with altered chewing patterns, you may begin to experience excessive or uneven dental wear and chronic jaw pain.

By permanently filling the gap in your smile with an artificial replacement tooth, an implant protects your natural teeth and helps preserve proper bite alignment. The exposed post of the implant is finished with a porcelain crown that fits in with your natural teeth and matches your bite perfectly.

Implants protect your teeth and gums

Bone tissue loss and jawbone shrinkage, shifting teeth, bite misalignment, excessive dental wear, and jaw pain may be the first major oral health problems prompted by missing teeth, but without prompt treatment, they’re not the last. 

Because drifting teeth and a misaligned bite can make it harder to reach certain spots when you brush and floss, having gaps in your smile can drastically increase your chances of developing dental decay and periodontal (gum) disease — both of which can readily lead to additional tooth loss.  

Replacing a missing tooth with an implant as soon as possible is the best way to guard against the kind of secondary dental decay and gum disease associated with unresolved tooth loss. 

If maintaining good oral health is important to you, then dental implants are the best tooth replacement option available. To learn more, call 813-792-8211 today, or use our easy online booking feature to schedule a consultation anytime.