Most people have lost a tooth at some point or another in their lives, especially those who are senior citizens. In fact, 70% of the U.S. population has at least one missing tooth as a result of decay, a failed root canal therapy procedure, or fracture. The most common teeth to go are the back molars, which incidentally are the first permanent teeth to erupt into the mouth. These teeth tend to get less attention than the rest of the teeth given their position and thus are most susceptible to the accumulation of bacteria which can cause decay.
To restore the teeth that have been affected by decay, many patients have received dental crowns or root canal treatments to restore their teeth. Unfortunately these procedures can fail and are susceptible to recurrent decay, meaning they either have to have an additional treatment down the road or will lose the tooth because of the complications sustained due to decay, infection, structural failure or fracture.
The health factors associated with missing teeth are becoming more evident to dentists as well as patients who suffer from lost teeth. When a tooth is lost the supporting bone begins to debilitate and can lead to problems with bite, speech, diet, and social embarrassment. In order to stop the jaw bone loss associated with missing teeth dentists are recommending dental implants over dentures and dental bridges as dental implants are the only procedure which can stop the deterioration of the bone.
Dental implants integrate with the jaw bone to replace the tooth root and form a fusion that is both healthy and preventative in nature. This fusion between the jaw bone and implant, called osseointegration, preserves the jaw bone and allows the normal function of the mouth including the nerves, muscles and jaw joints. They also work to maintain the aesthetic appearance of the face and help to prevent the sagging facial appearance that occurs with tooth loss.