If you have lost one or more teeth, it’s important to get them replaced. It’s not just that you’ll have a large, visible gap in your smile. Instead, you’re likely to experience teeth that drift and tilt. They’ll become less effective at chewing, and you might develop bite problems, including potentially temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). You’ll have oral hygiene challenges. The combination of effects can lead to the loss of more teeth.
If you want to replace your teeth, you’ve got a few potential options, including removable dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants. The best of these is dental implants. In all of the following categories, dental implants are the best: equalling or exceeding the other options. You can also choose to talk to a Wichita Falls implant dentist about your tooth replacement options in person.
Best for Your Smile
Getting dental implants in Wichita Falls is the best thing you can do for your smile after losing one or more teeth. That’s because dental implants look more natural than other tooth replacement options.
Dental implants achieve their natural appearance because they–like your natural teeth–have two different parts designed for different functions. Your tooth has a root whose function is to bond with the jawbone. Then it has a dental crown on top whose function is to look good and chew effectively.
Dental implants have the same structure. The dental implant is technically just the root part of the replacement tooth. It’s usually made of titanium, which bonds directly to the jawbone. Then on top of this implant (often connected with a small abutment) is a dental crown or bridge made of advanced dental ceramics. These ceramics look like natural tooth enamel–the outer layer of your natural tooth crown.
This makes dental implants the most natural-looking tooth replacement option.
Best for Function
Effective chewing requires that you can put good bite force down on your teeth, including your replacement teeth. Both dental implants and dental bridges let you chew with essentially the same force you had when you had all-natural teeth. They direct force down into your jawbone.
Dentures, on the other hand, don’t let you chew with full force. Dentures rest on top of your gums, and they direct force onto your gums. Your gums can’t support the same amount of force as your bones, and if you try to make them, it hurts. As a result, many people choose to remove their dentures for eating.
Best for Flexibility
A Wichita Falls dentist can use dental implants and dentures to replace any number of lost teeth. It doesn’t matter where the teeth are. You can replace them with either of these options.
However, we can only use dental bridges in limited situations. A dental bridge is a replacement tooth supported by dental crowns placed over neighboring natural teeth. To use a dental bridge, these neighboring teeth have to be healthy enough to support the replacement tooth.
We also have to worry about the bite force at the location with the dental bridge. It can’t be too much for two teeth to do the work of three.
Best for Your Other Teeth
Dental implants are best for your other teeth because they support themselves with your jawbone. Other teeth replacement options rely on your neighboring teeth for support and/or retention.
We’ve talked about how dental crowns over natural teeth support a dental bridge. To prepare for this, we have to remove irreplaceable tooth enamel from the supporting teeth. The pressure of supporting a dental bridge can sometimes be too much for a natural tooth, which can make them fail early. This is a relatively low risk for two teeth supporting one replacement tooth, but it gets much higher in other situations.
Partial dentures also rely on your natural teeth for support. Depending on the design of your dentures, they will have hooks, clasps, or other extensions that go around your natural teeth to hold dentures in place. Metal hooks and clasps can wear away your natural teeth, making them more vulnerable to decay and structural failure.
Even soft extensions can cause problems for your natural teeth. Any denture structures against your teeth can collect food and bacterial plaque. This can cause cavities and lead to decay on these support teeth. Partial dentures increase your risk of losing more teeth.
Best for Your Gums and Jawbone
Dental implants aren’t just the best for your teeth; they’re best for your gums and jawbone, too. When you lose a natural tooth, your body will remove the jawbone that used to support it. As the bone disappears, the gums will shrink, too. This can lead to an empty space under your dental bridge, and your dentures might need modification or replacement to keep functioning as your gums shrink. In extreme cases, this might lead to jaw fractures.
But dental implants stimulate the jawbone. Using the jawbone means your body won’t remove it nearly as much. Some bone is still lost, but it’s not as much as with the other two replacement options.
Best for Longevity
Where dental implants stand out most, though, is in their longevity. Removable partial dentures might last 8-10 years at best. A dental bridge might last 10-15 years if it’s well-designed and installed.
Dental implants, though, have the potential to last a lifetime. Individual implants have been reported to last 50 years or more. Long, large-term studies show that at least 93% of dental implants last 17 years or more. While the dental crown or bridge on top of an implant might need to be replaced in 10-15 years (some last 30 years or more), the dental implant itself can last forever if it’s properly cared for.
And dental implant care is easy. Just brush, floss, and see your Wichita Falls dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning.
Learn More Benefits of Dental Implants in Wichita Falls
If you’ve lost one or more teeth or are facing the loss of teeth, it’s time to talk to a Wichita Falls dentist about replacement options.
Please call 940-322-2252 or use our online form to request an appointment at StarImage Dentistry in Wichita Falls near Wichita Falls High School.