Wouldn’t it be great if our teeth were like our hair?
No, we don’t mean if your teeth were soft. We mean it would be great if our teeth would just regrow like our hair does (or for some of us, like our hair used to).
Then we wouldn’t have to worry about things like losing a tooth in an accident or because of tooth decay. We’d know that when the tooth fell out, or we pulled it out, that it would be back in a few days or weeks.
That would be great, but it’s not reality. When we lose a tooth or we have one pulled, we can lose a lot more. We may lose our smile, and we may have to give up eating certain foods that we love.
Thankfully, we can get dental implants to keep our smiles looking their best and our teeth as strong as ever. You can learn more about dental implants if you keep reading or if you call the Legacy Smiles dentist office in Billings, MT.
What Is a Dental Implant?
You’ve heard of a prosthetic leg. You may even know somebody who has one.
Well, a dental implant is a prosthetic tooth. You may know someone who has one of these, too, although you may not realize it.
Specifically, a dental implant replaces the root of your missing tooth.
The root is the part of your tooth that is hidden underneath your gums. The root is the anchor that holds your tooth inside your jaw.
When you lose your tooth because of an injury, tooth decay, or advanced gum disease, you start losing bone density in your jaw, too.
Within 12 months of losing a tooth, you can lose up to 25 percent of the underlying bone in that part of your mouth. If you don’t replace your tooth, that bone loss may affect the neighboring teeth. If they lose their support, they could fall out, too.
That only increases your chances of losing more teeth.
Dental implants can stop this bone loss before it starts. Implants are titanium cylinders that we place into your jaw. Your bone will bond directly to your implant through a process known as osseointegration.
This means your implant will be just as secure as your remaining natural teeth. We can place a dental crown, bridge, or dentures on your implant to restore the appearance of your smile and the bite force of your teeth.
Maintaining Your Quality of Life
In a perfect world, we would all keep all of our teeth all of our lives. On Earth, tooth loss is just part of life, however.
That’s just as true in the United States as anywhere in the world, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Adults with a full set of teeth have 32 teeth (including their wisdom teeth). Yet, the average American adult has about 25 teeth. Adults who are over 50, have closer to 22 teeth on average.
All this is to say, there’s a good chance that you have or you will lose some of your teeth during your lifetime. That’s even if we don’t count the wisdom teeth you had removed.
This can change your life. Some people become more self-conscious because of their missing teeth.
They start holding up their hands to cover their mouths when they speak. They keep their lips firmly closed whenever someone asks them to pose for a picture.
In the worst cases, they may even become more reclusive, trying to avoid face-to-face interactions with other people rather than risking the embarrassment of someone noticing their missing teeth.
It can affect your diet, too. If you are missing teeth, it’s a lot harder to take a bite out of corn on the cob or an apple. Chewing up a bite of fried chicken may become more work than you think it’s worth.
Dental implants can give you back those things you thought you lost — your smile, your bite force, and your self-confidence.
A dental implant paired with a dental crown is an excellent replacement for a single tooth.
If you need to replace multiple teeth, we can make a dental bridge that rests on dental implants.
And if you have dentures or need to replace a full arch of teeth, we can strategically place multiple implants to support a set of dentures. This will restore the appearance of a set of healthy teeth and allow you to eat anything you want without fear of your dentures coming loose.
Preserve Your Smile
We may not be able to regrow missing teeth, but we have the next best thing with dental implants. To find out more or to make an appointment, fill out our online form or call Legacy Smiles in Billings, MT, at (406) 794-3114.