How Dental Implants Can Save Your Face

Everyone wants to have a beautiful smile and missing teeth can really make you feel self-conscious about the way that you look. However, missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue. Lost teeth can affect your jaw and oral health, even leading to a condition called facial collapse.

Replacing missing teeth is possible thanks to dental implants. Even though dental implants have been around for a long time, today’s dental technology makes them look and feel just like a natural tooth. Learn more about the risks to your appearance of missing teeth, and how AACD Accredited dentist Dr. Roberto Palmieri can protect the way you look.

What happens to your face when you’re missing a tooth

When you’re missing a tooth, it can change the appearance of your entire face. Generally, this process occurs gradually over the first three years after losing a tooth. Just as muscles can atrophy when you don’t use them, your jaw can shrink because it doesn’t need to support all your teeth anymore. This shift in your jawline can have dramatic effects on your face. Dental implants can prevent this from happening.

This shift in your jaw can lead to several unattractive changes to your face. It can cause the lower third of your face to appear sunken, as if your nose is trying to touch your chin. Your lips can fold in, causing the appearance of a sinking chin. Missing teeth can also create marionette lines, which are deep wrinkles around your mouth that can make you look much older. 

Other consequences of missing teeth

Missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic concern, however. The shift in your jawline can also affect your bite, which can cause significant mouth pain. This mouth pain can cause you to avoid certain foods or to chew on different parts of your mouth. 

Having missing teeth can also change the way you talk. It may become difficult for others to understand your speech. Your other teeth can also shift, which can cause jaw pain and headaches. Having a missing tooth puts more pressure on all your remaining teeth, which can change the way you bite and can even lead to broken teeth.

Why dental implants are the right solution

By now, we’ve made a pretty good case for why you should replace missing teeth. Many options are available for doing so, such as bridges and dentures. A dental implant is generally the most expensive option of the three, but it’s also the best.

A dental bridge is essentially three crowns next to each other, anchoring the empty space to the teeth on each side. One big problem with dental bridges is that they tend to be hard to clean and floss, and you can still get decay along the gumline. Another problem with dental bridges is that they don’t last forever. Most dental bridges need to be replaced within about 10 years.

Dentures have many of the same risks of missing teeth. You can still have facial collapse even if you’re wearing dentures. Because dentures aren’t fixed to your jaw, your jawline can shrink. When this happens, your dentures can slide around in your mouth, making it hard to eat and causing problems with your speech. Dentures also tend to be quite uncomfortable to wear.

Dental implants are fixed to your jaw with a titanium post. Because this titanium post fuses to your jawbone, your mouth doesn’t recognize that there was a tooth missing, so there’s no bone loss. This avoids many of the problems associated with missing teeth and other types of replacement.

Dental implants also have the longest lifespan of any of the methods for replacing teeth. In most cases, dental implants are permanent. Because it’s color-matched to the surrounding teeth, you won’t be able to tell that it’s there. You also don’t need to take care of it any differently than your other teeth.

Missing teeth have consequences to both your appearance and the health of your jaw. Dental implants are the best solution for replacing lost teeth. Call Dr. Palmieri today at 704-247-6336, or request an appointment online.

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