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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

If you are a senior considering dental implants, you may have to worry about issues other dental patients don't have to think about. For example, you may need more time to recover after receiving your implants. My name is Jodi, and I've been working with seniors for years. I decided to create this blog to help the seniors I can't meet in person. In this space, I'm going to post entries on everything related to dental implants and seniors. From tips on flossing implants after arthritis has claimed some of your dexterity, to guiding you through the implants-vs-dentures debate, this blog is designed for you. Thanks for reading. I hope you find what you need!



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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

Use It or Lose It: The Benefits of Replacing Missing Teeth With Dental Implants

by Jimmy Carter

If you have just lost a tooth, you might be wondering whether you should replace it or not. However, your focus should be on function and health, not aesthetics. Of course, replacing a missing tooth in your smile zone, usually the top six teeth, is also an urgent matter. Where your back teeth, your molars, are concerned, their absence is felt—not seen.

The short-term risks of not replacing a tooth, such as infection at the site, shouldn't be a problem as long as you care for the wound as it heals. The long-term risks, on the other hand, are what you need to consider when deciding whether to replace a missing tooth.

Missing Teeth Cause Long-Term Issues

The average Australian adult is missing five teeth. Even five missing teeth can cause chaos in a mouth that was previously problem free. For the first few months after the loss of a tooth, you will notice little change in the area aside from the healing of the site. However, in time, you may begin to see visible signs that something isn't right.

Crooked Teeth

Teeth are not static, if they were, braces would be useless. Your teeth are forever moving forward, toward the front of your mouth. This is why the average person's teeth will likely become at least a little crooked as they age. Dentists call this force 'mesial drift'.

Imagine then, what happens when you remove one of those teeth. The teeth behind the missing tooth will move into the space the tooth once occupied. This often causes the moving tooth to gradually tip as it moves through your jawbone, leading to a crooked bite that makes it hard to chew and speak.

This problem could well be exacerbated by bone loss.

Bone Loss

When you bite down with your teeth, for example, while chewing, your body acknowledges that you have teeth and proceeds to keep your jawbone healthy and strong. However, if your body later senses that a tooth is missing due to the lack of pressure, the bone will steadily deteriorate.

This process is called resorption. Your body removes the minerals, such as calcium, and uses them elsewhere in the body. As a result, the bone loss in the area changes the shape of your face, perhaps causing extra wrinkles and lopsidedness.

Fortunately, dental implants can help.

Dental Implants for Missing Teeth

With the above issues in mind, dental implants are the ideal solution to missing teeth. Composed of titanium, dental implants are extremely durable and can last a lifetime. But you will need to replace the crown once every 10-15 years.

The best thing about dental implants is that they stimulate bone growth. If your face shape has changed due to a missing tooth, a dental implant can repair the damage.