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The Benefits of Dental Implants

In the past, your only choice for missing teeth was either a bridge or dentures by themselves, but now dentists internationally choose dental implants for their patients for long-term tooth replacement. Dr. James Burden is both knowledgeable and highly trained with extensive education in dental implants, and provides a complimentary consultation at our Williamsburg, VA, to discuss your solutions for replacing any missing teeth and the benefits of dental implants

What is a Dental Implant?

Cartoon of a dental implant with natural teeth on either sideWhat exactly is a dental implant? Quite simply, a dental implant is a replacement tooth. It looks, feels and acts like a natural tooth, anchored by a titanium post (the root) and a crown. The implant is placed first (often following extraction), then an abutment (metal connecting piece) and temporary crown placed on the post until the gums heal. Once healed, the permanent crown will be affixed.

As well as for single-tooth replacement, dental implants can be used with either a dental bridge or dentures to create stable restorations for multiple missing teeth.

Benefits of Dental Implants for Missing Teeth

Our patients say they can’t tell the difference between their natural teeth and a dental implant.

When dental implants were first introduced, only generally healthy patients with the right amount of jawbone were considered as candidates for implants. After over fifty years of research, state-of-the-art technology has reached a point where the implant process is minimally invasive and suitable for almost anyone.

Natural Look and Feel

Our patients say they can’t tell the difference between their natural teeth and a dental implant. Dental implants can last a lifetime and can be cleaned like regular teeth. They also have the same chewing power as natural teeth.

Improved Bone Density

Cartoon of the same woman over time as her jawbone sagsIf you have missing teeth and you leave them missing, you will progressively lose bone density where you tooth was. This is because the jawbone needs the stimulation of chewing on teeth to maintain its density. Implants placed in your jawbone act as natural teeth and provide that stimulation.

Prevent Facial Sagging

With multiple missing teeth (even those supported by dentures) the height between the tip of the nose and chin can decrease, as bone mass decreases, causing dramatic facial changes. Those changes include wrinkles around the mouth, thinning lips, increased curvature of the lips and sagging skin. This makes a person look far older than their true age. Dental implants prevent bone loss.

Keep Teeth in Alignment

When there is a gap between teeth, the other teeth shift towards that gap, pulling them out of place. This affects the alignment of your teeth and your bite and can affect your chewing ability. It can also lead to problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint).

Dr. Burden stands with a patient and points to a screen
There are many uses for dental implants in teeth replacement. Dr. Burden will explain all your options.

Benefits of Implants vs. Dentures

Dental implants can be used to replace all your missing teeth, as well as to anchor in a denture. In this case, Dr. Burden generally places a minimum of four implants on the lower arch and six on the upper arch. This creates a stable denture that is comfortable, dispenses with adhesives and allows you to eat what you want.

If you are deciding between traditional dentures or dental implants/implant-supported dentures, there are some things to consider.

Convenience

  • Dentures have to be removed every day for cleaning. Implants are just like real teeth and are cared for in the same way.
  • Dentures often have to be affixed using a messy dental adhesive. This is not the case with dental implants. Dental Implants are the most secure method of replacing missing teeth.

Comfort

  • Dentures cover the roof of the mouth. With implants, there’s nothing covering the roof of your mouth to interfere with your sense of taste or other normal activities. Implants are anchored into your jaw for strength and stability.
  • Dentures can slip out while eating or speaking. Implants are anchored and enable you to eat and speak with confidence, at home or publicly.
  • Dentures can move as you chew. Dentures can’t provide the same strength needed to chew as natural teeth can, and that means you’re forced to restrict your diet and avoid fruits, vegetables and meats. Implants act like natural teeth and give you the power to eat what you want when you want it. You’ll have your “natural teeth” back.
  • Dentures often have a clicking sound while eating. With implants or implant-supported dentures, there’s no sound like this, because implants are like natural teeth.

Improved Jawbone Health

  • Dentures = Bone Loss. When a tooth is lost, the supporting bone loses its stimulation and decreases in density and volume. Implants act as natural teeth in maintaining strength and jawbone density.
  • Dentures + Bone loss = Change in Your Facial “Look.” With lost teeth (even if you have dentures) the height between the tip of the nose and chin can decrease (as bone mass decreases) causing dramatic facial changes. Those changes include wrinkles around the mouth, thinning lips, increased curvature of the lips and sagging skin. While these changes happen with age, they are increased when bone loss is present.

Benefits of Implants vs. Dental Bridges

An implant-supported bridgeChoosing a bridge may be an economic decision, however, there are some other things you should think about before you make your final decision. When considering choosing a bridge over dental implants, ask Dr. Burden what his recommendation would be. Here are some things to think about:

  • To support a bridge, your natural teeth need to be ground down. When this is done, your natural teeth can be weakened. Once weakened, they become more sensitive and more vulnerable to decay. Instead, implants can be used to fill the space of the lost tooth or teeth without touching the adjacent teeth.
  • A bridge is harder to clean than implants. You can care for implants as you would natural teeth as there are gaps between the teeth and you can brush and floss as normal.
  • Bridges don’t stop bone loss. Implants help preserve your jawbone and appearance by preventing likelihood of bone loss occurring when teeth are lost.
  • Bridges aren’t a permanent solution. Because bridges are attached to natural teeth with crowns and use a frame, they can have problems and can’t be guaranteed to last. Dental implants, though, can last a lifetime with normal brushing, flossing and checkups.

Experience the Implant Advantage

Dental implants offer significant advantages over traditional tooth loss solutions. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, call our office at (757) 229-1224 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.

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There are amazing people in that office! My family has been going to this dental office for years and I can't think of a better place to go for dental care. Friendly, caring, and compassionate.

-Cheryl W.
Williamsburg, VA