According to periodontist Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles, replacing teeth with dental implants protects adjacent teeth, preserves bone, and keeps the bite intact.
The advantages of replacing a single tooth with a dental implant are that you can avoid touching or damaging the adjacent teeth. If you want to replace that tooth then an implant stands by itself and it does not require any preparation of the adjacent teeth, and that is really a huge benefit.
Once you put a cap on a tooth there is a certain lifespan to a cap or crown. For instance if you needed to make a conventional bridge, which means that you are going to prepare teeth on either side, then the average lifespan of that bridge is about seven years. So instead of using an implant, if you used a fixed bridge, then you would have to commit to changing or replacing that bridge roughly every seven to ten years. Every time you replace a crown or a bridge you typically run into other problems such as root canals or fractures. If you use an implant, you can avoid all those complications and all that future treatment.
Another advantage of an implant is that once you lose a tooth the bone tends to atrophy or shrink in that area. If you place an implant, then it tends to maintain that bone so that it does not shrink. The dental implant actually stimulates the bone around it so it maintains the volume and the integrity of the jaw bone.
If the missing tooth is the back of the mouth, then the advantage of replacing it is that you basically create more surface area for chewing and it maintains the bite better. If you lose all your back teeth, then you start overworking the front teeth. The front teeth can move, they can flare out, and they can develop more bone loss on their own. For these reasons, keeping a bite intact tends to be very important and that is another significant benefit of dental implants.
Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles
South Florida Center for Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
Boca Raton, FL
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