If you have lost one or more teeth, replacing them is crucial for keeping your remaining teeth. That’s why it’s best to choose the tooth replacement option that is best for your remaining teeth, which is dental implants. Here are some of the many ways that dental implants are good for your remaining teeth.
One of the important reasons to replace missing teeth is that the gap left could cause other teeth to drift. This is a slow process, but it progresses whenever the gap is there.
So if you have a removable tooth replacement like a partial denture, all the time you’re not wearing it will cause the teeth to start drifting. Taking the denture out for long periods–like overnight–or during active tooth use–like eating–can make it worse.
But dental implants are constantly fixed in place–they’re not removable–so they are always helping hold your teeth in place.
Tooth replacements aren’t always easy on your remaining natural teeth. When teeth replacements are supported by your natural teeth, they can put extra stress on those teeth. Hooks and clasps from partial dentures can cause wear if they’re metal, and always lead to an accumulation of food and plaque. And in some cases dental bridges can put so much stress on natural teeth that they can lead to the failure of those teeth, especially if the bridge is supported by only one tooth.
But dental implants support themselves in the jawbone just like your natural teeth, so they aren’t going to cause damage to neighboring teeth.
No Modification of Neighboring Teeth
Sometimes, the “damage” caused by tooth replacement is by design, not accident. That’s because dental bridges have to be supported by dental crowns over neighboring teeth, and that means some natural tooth material has to be removed to allow placement of the crowns. And any time we remove healthy tooth material, we make that tooth less strong and less healthy.
But dental implants don’t require your neighboring teeth to be modified. Because they support themselves, your neighboring teeth can be left alone.
One thing that dental implants do that no other tooth replacement can is to stimulate your jawbone. This keeps the jawbone strong and healthy even after the tooth is lost.
With other tooth replacement options, the jawbone will naturally be removed by the body in a process called resorption. Sometimes, this region of weakened jawbone can be a potential vulnerability for the natural teeth that are nearby.
Keeping the rest of your teeth after losing one or more depends on proper oral hygiene. This can be challenging with some tooth replacement options. With removable dentures, you have to clean out the denture itself as well as cleaning your teeth and gums. You also should clean the denture after every meal.
With dental bridges, you mostly have to brush like natural teeth, but there’s an area under the replacement tooth that must also be cleaned. This can be a bit of a challenge to do properly.
But with dental implants, maintenance is easy–just brush and floss normally–and you can keep your dental implants–and your natural teeth–for the rest of your life.