Will Dental Implants Change My Appearance?

What is a dental implant and will it change the way I look? This is a common inquiry made in dentist offices all over the country and we can provide an answer here.

We all know that brushing every day, flossing, and regular dental visits should be an active part of our daily routine but consistent and thorough oral care goes beyond a bright white smile. Caring for your teeth and gums has a direct and positive impact on overall health and can actually add years to your life.

Some people, however, due to bad habits, chipped or damaged teeth, or unfortunate afflictions; experience oral issues severe enough to require dental implants. For those of you unfamiliar, with the term, dental implants are specially designed medical devices used as substitutes for missing teeth. They function as an artificial tooth root which supports various types of dental prosthesis such as dentures, crowns, or bridges.

Okay, great, but what will I look like after the procedure and can I still eat Jawbreakers? Firstly, don’t ever eat Jawbreakers; they’re terrible for you and they really can damage your jaw. In regard to appearance, dental implants have a genuine and positive on facial appearance.

Let’s first look at a dental implant’s three components; the fixture, abutment, and prosthesis (or crown).

Fixture

The fixture, closely resembling a threaded bolt shaft, is the part that is embedded into the jawbone to fuse with the jawbone and act as an artificial tooth root. Material used in implant fixtures is typically metal, such as highly pure titanium; or ceramic such as zirconia.

Special bone-regeneration material, including hydroxyapatite, is sometimes applied to the fixture’s surface to speed up the fusion process, which typically takes many months.

Abutment

The implant abutment extends above the gum line, supports the crown and secures it to the fixture. This small, protruding “stud” is traditionally added after fusion is complete. Similar to implant fixtures, abutments are made of metal, ceramic, or hybrid material.

Prosthesis

The prosthesis of an implant is the final dental work in the form of crowns, dentures, or bridges which are cemented, screwed, or clipped into place.

All told, today’s dental implants are nearly 100 percent effective and specifically designed and manufactured with incredible strength to last a lifetime.

Do I Need Dental Implants?

A missing tooth causes more trouble than just a chunk of your lunch getting stuck in there. Without the tooth providing nutrients, the bone around the vacant area gradually shrinks in size and becomes weaker. In fact, bone width may decrease by 25 percent in the first year of tooth loss.

Simply put, your bones need calcium and if your body receives signals that your jawbone isn’t properly working, it will steal calcium from your jaw to use somewhere else in a process called resorption. Interestingly, resorption is what contributes to a sunken look in elderly people.

Left unattended, continued bone loss can lead to sunken cheeks, decreased gum size, or drooping lips; all of which make you look much older. Not only that, the ability to chew and speak properly can be affected.

If you lose more or all of your teeth, the effects are even more severe. When the basal bone tissue beneath your teeth is lost, your entire face will adopt a sunken and collapsed look. But it doesn’t have to be that way; dental implants can return your appearance to its former glory.

How Do Dental Implants Improve Facial Appearance?

Properly placed dental implants can prevent bone loss and shrinking gums. In short, as bone mass rejuvenates and strengthens, your face’s natural shape and characteristics are restored, resulting in a symmetrical and youthful appearance

A common question related to this is the use of dentures instead of implants. The fact is, dentures can actually influence bone loss because your bite force is compressed rather than distributed throughout the bone structure. Dental implants drastically reduce and can altogether eliminate this issue.  

Once an implant is placed, your body reacts to the titanium material by building bone around it in a process called osseointegration and this provides stimulation and strength to your jaw and stop resorption in its tracks.

For more information on dental implants and your options, call Pasadena Periodontics today at (626) 386-8532.

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