When you lose your natural teeth, your smile – and other aspects of your life - can go through a range of changes. Without your natural teeth, the shape and look of your smile can change dramatically, as well as having knock-on effects on how people perceive you. There can also be mechanical effects, including changes to the way you speak and eat. There are several solutions to missing teeth, with dentures and dental implants being the most common.

Dentures are removable tooth restorations that restore the function and healthy appearance of a smile after tooth loss. These teeth replacements are designed to sit on top of the gum tissue to complete the smile aesthetically and functionally. However, since they are removable, they tend to move once they lose their original tight fit. This movement can bring about several problems with tooth movement, and do not necessarily restore missing mechanical or aesthetic functions in the long term.

Unlike dentures, dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone, designed to stay in place permanently without relying on or putting pressure on any remaining teeth. This means that they will not shift in your mouth (unlike removable dentures) and will restore both your ability to eat or speak clearly, as well as repairing your smile and other physical features affected by tooth loss. 

 

While a dental implant treatment can restore your smile’s healthy function and appearance, it may not be suitable for everyone. A good candidate will ideally have healthy gums because they will serve as the structure supporting the implants. It is also important for a good candidate to have enough healthy bone structure in the jaw to support the placement of implants. However, those who have suffered from bone loss may still have dental implants after going through advanced procedures such as a bone graft to augment the jawbone.

 

There are some conditions and instances which may make a person unsuitable for dental implant treatment. Heavy smokers may not be good candidates for dental implants as the chemicals in tobacco products hinder healing and thus may lead to the implants failing after being placed in the jawbone. Those who habitually grind their teeth, have uncontrolled diabetes, severe immune deficiencies, connective tissue diseases, or are going through radiation treatment may also not be the best candidates for getting dental implants.

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