There’s a reason why the phrase “gap-toothed smile” doesn’t sound good. When you’re missing a tooth, your smile doesn’t look as good as it should. This can make it embarrassing to smile.
But it’s more than just a problem with how you look. Without that tooth in place, your other teeth start to get crooked. Your bite can change, leading to worn enamel and TMJ pain. You can even have a higher risk of gum disease and cavities near that empty gap.
Call our Hellertown, PA dental office today at 484-858-0949 to schedule your appointment for a dental implant. This long-lasting replacement tooth helps you look better and stay healthier. Plus, both of our Hellertown dentists have been helping people with dental implants for many years, giving them the practical experience to go along with their years of training.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are modern, long-lasting replacements for lost teeth. Each dental implants can replace a single missing tooth, and it has three parts:
- An artificial root made to mimic the roots of natural teeth.
- A replacement tooth made to order that looks like the one you lost.
- An abutment that connects the two. (This way, if you ever need to get a new replacement tooth for any reason, you don’t have to replace the root as well.)
The dental implant procedure is oral surgery but simple. One of our Hellertown dentists will surgically place the root in your jawbone. Once the site is healed, you’ll get the abutment and then replacement tooth connected to the root.
A Happy Accident With Titanium
Interestingly, dental implants have existed for a long time — but they didn’t exactly work until a bit of luck happened.
The problem had always been getting the root to stay in place. Ancient Mayans used shells and crystals as replacement teeth, but those wouldn’t stay in the smile. The bone in the jaw would reject everything.
Then in the 1950s, a scientist studying bones made an accidental discovery. He had surgically placed some tiny titanium rods in a rabbit’s leg bone. He wanted to study how marrow worked this way. But when he tried to remove the tiny rods, he discovered they had fused with the bone. It turns out that titanium is the only metal that fuses this way.
When dentists learned about that lucky find, they realized a titanium root is just what they needed to make dental implants work. By fusing with your jawbone, your dental implant will have the same strength and stability as your natural teeth.
How Dental Implants Help Your Smile
That’s all well and good, but how exactly does a dental implant help your smile? Here’s how.
You can talk and chew with confidence again
When you have a gap in your smile, it can be hard to feel good about your teeth. You might not want to smile, and talking could be a problem if you lose one of your front teeth. Even chewing can be a problem when you don’t have all your teeth. But once you have a dental implant in that gap, you can smile, talk, and chew with confidence again.
Your self-esteem can get a boost
For many people, that dark spot in the smile is embarrassing. When you don’t look good, you don’t feel good. That’s why a missing tooth can decrease your confidence and self-esteem. A dental implant looks healthy and natural in your smile, which can give you a boost to your self-esteem.
Your jawbone can stop deteriorating
Your jawbone needs stimulation to stay healthy. Normally, that happens when you chew. The pressure from chewing travels down a tooth’s root into your bone tissue. That doesn’t happen when you are missing a tooth, at least not in that part of your jaw. Because a dental implant includes an artificial root, you get that stimulation back to keep your jawbone healthy.
You won’t need another replacement tooth for 20 years or more
When it comes to getting dental work, you want one that will last. You can get a dental bridge as a replacement tooth, and there are cases where that makes more sense. But a dental bridge only lasts around 10 years. A dental implant normally lasts 20 or more years, and for some people, it’s the last replacement tooth they need.