• If You Lose A Tooth, Yes, You Really Do Need An Implant.

  • Today I’m blogging about implants. We all know they are the newest rage, in fact, even the dental insurance companies are starting to help patients offset their cost. But you might wonder what all the hype is about. They seem quite costly, are they really worth it?

    Here’s the thing. Your jawbone is pretty important. If you are in a bar, and get into a brawl, you don’t want your jawbone to be skinny and weak, right? In all seriousness, though. A strong jawbone is extremely important. If you wear dentures, you probably know first-hand how important your jawbone can be. If you have very little jawbone, it is extremely uncomfortable to wear a denture. The denture has nothing to grab onto.

    Our jawbone, at least the bony ridge inside our mouths, has one reason for existence. To support our teeth. The jawbone is stimulated by the percussion of our teeth when we chew. This stimulation keeps the jawbone around. When a tooth is no longer present, the bony ridge related to that tooth slowly starts to dissolve. It actually leaves the scene. It doesn’t move, it leaves. Goodbye forever. If that bone is not stimulated, it acts just like a leg muscle that’s never used. It just atrophies. In some cases, bone can be replaced with grafting. However, this depends on the exact shape and character of the bone that is present in the area. For instance, it’s really hard to get bone to stick to the top of the bony ridge. That’s where we need it. It’s exactly like trying to get something to stay on top of a steep slope. There’s nothing magical here. It just can’t grab on.

    This brings me to my first point. Implants keep our bone stimulated. We can actually feel percussion when we chew with an implant that has been restored with a denture or tooth on top of it. It keeps our jawbone there. This is truly miraculous. If we lose a tooth, we don’t have to also lose our bony ridge.

    Our teeth say an awful lot about us. Whether you want to accept it or not, people look at each other’s teeth. It is in the center of our face, and our brains are wired to look at faces. If our teeth are strange, it’s difficult for others to overlook it. If our teeth are black, or gone, it’s pretty clear to others. Perhaps you’re lucky, and you’re a man with a large mustache. Otherwise, folks notice your mouth, teeth, and smile. Of course, if we lose teeth we can have a denture, a bridge, a partial denture, and so forth. Most of these do the job pretty well of replacing the lost teeth. However, none of these options keep the bony ridge around. And none of these options look as natural as mother nature’s work.

    Second point. Single implant restorations are remarkably beautiful. They emerge from under the gum level, and look just exactly like they grew there. And guess what? The bone stays with them forever. That means it looks beautiful forever. Now, of course there’s a chance the crown may break after a number of years. That’s not a huge deal, it can be replaced. When it’s replaced, if it ever even needs to be, it is still remarkably beautiful. Bridges on implants are a close second in the beauty department. Stunning teeth to replace the ones you lost.

    Any of you out there who are or who know a denture or partial denture wearer know that they can be the bane of one’s existence. They move, food gets under them, the adhesive that keeps them stuck on well is sticky and nasty tasting. You have to remove them at night, they cause sores and need to be adjusted, it’s awful. What if I told you that if the conditions were right, you could have a denture on implants that you didn’t have to remove at night? Guess what. I just told you that if the conditions are right, you can have a denture on implants that you don’t have to remove. It’s called a hybrid implant denture, and your dentist removes it a few times a year to check and clean it. Otherwise, you leave it in. Ah-mazing.

    That was my third point. Here’s the fourth. If you don’t have enough space for the hybrid style, you can still have a conventional removable denture built on implants. Why would you do that? Are you ready? They do not move. They hook on to the implants and stay. right. where. they. belong. For denture folks, this is nothing short of nirvana. Now, we can talk, laugh, eat without fear of our teeth flying out of our mouth or moving and making us look ridiculous!

    There you have it. There is a reason your dentist keeps on hammering about implants. There’s no downside here. It’s sad when we lose our teeth. Sometimes it’s inevitable, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It’s worth the money to keep our bone, our smile, our ability to get proper nutrition by chewing our food. Not only is it now the standard of care in this country, it’s the best way to restore lost teeth. And it is beautiful.