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Missing teeth can make you feel self-conscious and interfere with normal eating and speaking. For some people, dental implant surgery may be the answer.

Missing teeth can be caused by a variety of things, such as trauma to the mouth or severe gum disease. Whatever the cause, missing teeth can have a major impact on your life. Dental implants are one option to restore the function and look of natural teeth.

Indications for Dental Implants

If you are an adult who has lost a tooth, you are not alone. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, almost 70 percent of adults, ages 35 to 44 have lost a tooth. Some have lost more than one.

One of the main causes of tooth loss in adults is gingivitis more commonly known as gum disease.

Plaque, which forms on the teeth, contains bacteria. If plaque is not properly removed and builds up, so does bacteria. The bacteria can lead to inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, which may cause tooth decay and eventually tooth loss. Injury or trauma to the mouth can also lead to tooth loss.

Missing teeth may decrease your self-confidence and leave you feeling self-conscious.

But confidence levels are not the only thing which is affected by missing teeth. Missing teeth can also interfere with your ability to chew. Having one missing tooth can also cause a ripple effect. Due to the space left by a lost tooth, problems with the other teeth may develop.

In addition, when teeth are missing, it can alter the shape of the face. The face can appear to sag or look sunken in. Replacing lost teeth helps restore the natural appearance of the face.

Dental implants can be used on one or multiple teeth. Implants can be used on adults of any age. Teens who have stopped growing and have a missing tooth may also be appropriate candidates for dental implants.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

There are both pros and cons of getting dental implants. Other methods of replacing lost teeth are available, such as a dental bridge and dentures. But in some cases, dental implants may be a better choice. For example, if you use a bridge to replace a lost tooth, the adjacent teeth are also prepared. This means teeth on both sides of the missing tooth are drilled and prepared for crowns, which will anchor the bridge. Even if the adjacent teeth are healthy, they still need to be prepared for the bridge. With a dental implant, the other teeth do not need to be cut down or drilled.

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, implants also prevent bone loss and stimulate natural bone growth.

See Also: Dental Implants as a Solution to Missing Teeth

With dentures and dental bridges, a replacement tooth sits on top of the gums. But dental implants are inserted into the bone, which strengthens it. When a tooth is missing, the bone that supported it can start to deteriorate. Since the implant is fused to the bone, it prevents the deterioration.  

Just as there are advantages to having dental implants placed, there are also some possible disadvantages. Cost can be a big factor. Dental implants are almost always more expensive than a bridge or dentures. Also, dental implant surgery is not a quick fix. In fact, the process often takes several months and is completed in stages. The surgery to have implants inserted is invasive. As with all types of surgery there are risks.

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