Many Reasons Dental Implants Are Becoming More Mainstream

added on: June 12, 2024

The human body is a miraculous structure. Throughout it, the skeletal system makes up about 12 – 15% of its body weight.

Through adolescence, a cycle of bone renewal and growth occurs. By our 20s, the cycle of bone growth peaks and renewal begins to slowly decline. In mid-life, a process of bone loss becomes accelerated, especially for females during menopause as estrogen levels decrease. For men, the loss is more gradual as testosterone declines.

By the age of 65, the rate of bone loss is about the same for both sexes. From there, bone mass gradually declines for the remainder of the lifespan, which places the individual at a greater risk for fractures. For every five years after age 65, the risk of fracture essentially doubles.

While this sounds like pretty concerning stuff, it’s a normal part of the aging process. To minimize certain risks associated with bone loss, older adults can take measures to slow the pace. These include getting proper exercise, eating calcium-rich foods, and avoiding things like smoking and being overweight.

In addition to the risk of fractures, bone loss reveals itself in how it affects physical appearance. For example, common conditions when bone density drops below normal are osteopenia or osteoporosis. These conditions cause bones to weaken, increasing risks of spinal fractures. These are associated with things like back pain and a “dowager’s hump.”

As a dentist in Shelby Township MI, I’ve seen patients of all ages, with many who have experienced bone loss. The type of bone loss I’m referring to is “resorption,” which occurs from the loss of natural tooth roots in the upper and/or lower jaws.

Natural teeth are supported by your upper (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible). These strong bone structures are designed to securely hold teeth by their roots, making biting and chewing comfortable. The jaw bones are kept healthy by their integration with natural tooth roots. These roots provide stimulation to the bone as well as nourishment that feeds through each tooth’s interior.

When a tooth is removed, so is the stimulation and nourishment to that area of the jaw bone. Without it, the bone begins to shrink (“resorb”). As it declines in height, adjacent teeth become more vulnerable to loss. Statistics show that teeth next to areas where natural teeth are missing are the most likely to be lost next.

You don’t have to be of “old age” to experience bone loss from missing teeth. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 69% of adults between the ages of 35 – 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. By age 50, Americans are missing an average of 12 teeth. For adults between the ages of 65 – 74, 26% are missing all of their natural teeth – over one-fourth of the adult population.

When bone loss occurs from tooth loss, facial changes can contribute to an aged appearance far beyond one’s actual years. For example, deep wrinkles form around the mouth with the corners of the mouth tipping downward (even when smiling). Jowls form as facial muscles detach from shrinking bone structures. The chin becomes pointed, the mouth seems to sink into the face, and the nose moves closer to the chin.

Decades ago, older adults who have lost natural teeth often turned to a denture or partial since it was once a common method of replacing teeth. However, with dental implants becoming more common in the U.S., adults are gravitating towards this superior option for tooth replacement.

In data analyzed from seven National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999 to 2016, the prevalence of U. S. adults having dental implants placed for missing teeth grew from 0.7% in 1999 to nearly 6% in 2015 to 2016. The largest increase in prevalence (12.9%) was among individuals ages 65 to 74.

By the most conservative estimates, dental implant prevalence is projected to jump to 17% by the year 2026 with some prevalence estimates of 23%.

When it comes to dental implants, I often see patients who have worn dentures or partials for many years. Most are frustrated by the uncomfortable rubbing and instability, especially when trying to eat the foods they love.

Although a denture or partial replaces the appearance of teeth and the ability to speak and chew, the true hazards of wearing these appliances are concealed because the problems that lie ahead are hidden – below the gum line. A denture or partial does nothing to preserve the bone structure beneath its gum-colored base.

Dental implants were designed to recreate the presence of natural teeth both above and below the gum line. Because teeth attached to the implants are supported by the jaw bones, the study foundation restores the ability to bite and chew without movement or fear of embarrassing slips.

Oral health is essential to general health and quality of life. It is described as a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection, and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psycho-social well-being.

This was addressed through an extensive study on “The Link Between Teeth and Emotions” published by Clinical Psychology of Oral Health. In this, the concept of quality of life was categorized in five dimensions: “physical well-being, material well-being, social well-being, emotional well-being, and development and activity.”

The authors found that oral health is “an integral part of general health and well-being” and examined how oral disorders may impair at least three of the five dimensions: the physical, emotional, and social well-being.

The authors also found an association between oral health and late life depression (LLD) in older adults, who experienced “compromised social function and impaired self-maintenance skills (e.g., bathing, dressing, hygiene).” This depression can cause a loss of pleasure and interest for daily life activities, and even in the interest in personal oral hygiene. (2017)

There are very few reasons to delay or bypass tooth replacement with dental implants. While ample bone mass is needed for successful dental implant placement, we offer bone rebuilding that does not require a bone graft for patients who are missing a great deal of bone. We also perform sinus lifts (when the upper jaw has declined to a significant level) to restore sufficient bone distance between vital structures.

We also offer many dental implant types that can accommodate severe bone loss, such as the All-On-4 dental implant system. In this, just 4implants are typically needed per arch, which are placed at specific angles to distribute biting forces appropriately. Because implant treatment costs are based on the number of implants placed, this is a much more affordable option for some dental implant candidates.

The benefits of dental implants versus other tooth replacement options are tremendous. For many of our dental implant patients, their lives become more active with the restored confidence that allows them to be more socially involved. They eat healthier and chew their food better, aiding in proper digestion.

Although dentures and partials may seem to be a less-expensive way to replace teeth, the savings is hardly worth the repercussions associated with them. The upkeep required for dentures and partials over time can be rather high, considering replacement, relines and repairs.

Dental implants use the foundation of the jaw bone, as with natural teeth, so replacement teeth stay secure when speaking, eating, and laughing. Dental implants are also designed to last your lifetime, making them a wise investment!

Dental implants not only replace the stability of natural teeth, they halt the process of bone loss. Dental implants are able to do this because they recreate the presence of natural tooth roots. This restores healthy stimulation to the bone.

If you are considering the lasting solution of dental implants, call 586-739-2155 to schedule a free consultation or tap here to begin. During this time, we’ll discuss the procedure, comfort options (including Oral or IV Sedation), and easy payment plans.

Our implant patients especially like that we provide all stages of dental implant treatment – from diagnosis to placement to the restoration of your final teeth – in one location. Our Macomb County dental office also features advanced technology that helps to minimize treatment needs while providing optimal results.

If treatment costs are a concern, we’ll be happy to have our Financial Coordinator discuss our payment plans with you. We offer several that are interest-free with no down payment required. These break out treatment costs into monthly amounts that are manageable to most budgets. Ask to speak with her during your consultation or feel free to call and arrange a phone appointment.

A new smile in one comfortable location – backed by our advanced technology and skills – offer optimal results in less time for an affordable fee. Begin by viewing a brief video on our Shelby Twp dental office and get to know more about dental implants at: DrBarbatDentalImplants  and our immense array of technology at: DrBarbatTechnology


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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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