Missing one or multiple teeth can affect your ability to eat, talk and even smile. Dental implants have become the popular choice for tooth replacement, with more than five million implants placed by dentists in the United States every year. But how strong are dental implants? How do they compare to your natural teeth? Are implants a better choice than other missing teeth solutions? At Image Dental, we are here to answer any questions you may have about dental implants and help you choose the best missing tooth solution for you.
Dental implants compared to real teeth
When it comes to what is best for your mouth and oral health, the goal of any dentist is to do everything possible to protect your natural teeth and maintain good oral health. Your teeth are the hardest substance in your body and are made to withstand about 5,600 pounds of pressure. When you lose teeth, your bite force diminishes. When you have dentures, your bite force can drop to 50 pounds per square inch. However, dental implants allow you to regain as much as 85 percent of your natural bite force.
Other benefits of dental implants include:
- Decay does not affect dental implants. This is important if dental decay is a regular problem for you or was the cause of your initial tooth loss. Bacteria and dental decay do not weaken implants. However, decay can still affect the gums and the implants’ supporting tissue, so good oral hygiene is still essential.
- Implants do not break easily. Just like your natural teeth, implants are strong and allow you to eat the same way you did with your natural teeth.
- Implants are made to last. Dental implants are a three-part treatment that includes a titanium screw, abutment, and a crown. The screw and abutment are made to last a lifetime. However, the crown may need replacing every 10 to 15 years. In many ways, implants are longer lasting than your natural teeth.
Dental implants and other missing teeth solutions
While dental implants are becoming the popular missing teeth solution, they are not your only option. Dentures, crowns, and bridges offer different tooth replacement solutions. While these offer great replacement options for those who cannot get dental implants, there are some disadvantages to both.
Dentures have two major types. You can have partial dentures that replace one or two missing teeth or complete dentures that replace an entire arch of teeth. These removable tooth replacement options are often more affordable than dental implants, but they come with downsides. They are often poor-fitting and can slip or fall out when talking or eating. You may also require adhesives to hold and keep them in place. Dentures can change your speech patterns, often causing a lisp when talking. While dentures are strong when it comes to eating, they can easily break if dropped.
A major disadvantage of dentures is the fact that nothing is stimulating your jawbone any longer. This loss of bone stimulation causes bone loss around the sockets where teeth used to be. It can cause changes in facial features, such as sunken cheeks. As the bone loss progresses, the gums will shrink, and you will need to replace or have your dentures refitted. In contrast, the metal screws used for dental implants stimulate the jawbone growth and prevent bone loss.
Crowns and bridges
A dental bridge is a missing tooth solution when you still have healthy teeth remaining. A bridge attaches to the surrounding healthy teeth and uses a crown to replace the missing teeth. It is a quick and cost-effective way to replace a single tooth. However, because they use the surrounding teeth, chewing puts additional pressure and strain on those healthy teeth. Eventually, those teeth may weaken and lead to additional dental concerns. Replacing a single tooth with a dental implant instead maintains an even distribution of pressure on the teeth, allowing the remaining healthy teeth to thrive while the replacement tooth continues to promote bone health.
Can implants break?
Just like your natural teeth, dental implants can still break when they are subject to too much force. This is especially true when force is applied before the posts have fully osseointegrated to the jawbone. As we mentioned before, dental implants have different parts. The post is the part that goes into the jawbone to stimulate bone growth and hold the implants in place. Once completely bonded with the bone, these posts are similar to your tooth root and are very durable and meant to last a lifetime. The crown, or the tooth of the implant, is just as strong as your natural tooth. However, it does wear over the years. On average, the crown will require replacement every 10 to 15 years.
If you suspect problems with your dental implant, contact your dentist immediately. If the post is broken, the only option is to undergo oral surgery to remove and replace it with a new one. This may require a bone graft to strengthen the surrounding bone before a new screw is placed. If the abutment or crown is broken, these can simply be replaced, and you will be back to your normal routine in no time.
How long do dental implants last?
Your dental implant is made to last a lifetime. However, the crown portion of the implant often requires replacement every 10 to 15 years, depending on oral hygiene, oral health, and wear and tear on the crown. In the end, a dental implant offers the most permanent tooth replacement option that promotes bone stability and growth while also returning tooth function.
If you have missing teeth and are looking for a replacement solution that works best for you, the caring and professional team and Image Dental is here to answer all your questions and create a treatment solution that works for you. Contact us online today or call the office at (209) 955-1500 to schedule an appointment and let us help you get back the smile and functionality you have missed.