Dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular option for replacing lost teeth in Irvine and across the country, but some people worry that there might be negative consequences of using them. One worry is whether the dental implant will affect the natural teeth adjacent to it.
The good news is that the effects will mostly be positive–your dental implant will support your natural teeth.
A Dental Implant Helps Your Natural Teeth
One of the best reasons to replace a lost tooth is that your teeth all depend on one another. Your teeth are subjected to great force, which mostly comes from above, but also includes forces that push the teeth sideways as well. Your teeth are able to stand up to this force because they all work together.
When one tooth is missing, the same amount of load gets distributed over fewer teeth, which means that each tooth has to support more force, increasing the amount of wear and the risk of fracture to that tooth. And without a neighbor to brace up against, sideways forces can cause your teeth to drift or tilt.
Dental implants give you a full set of teeth again so that the load can be shared as it was before. And they’re the only tooth replacement option that can do this because they’re the only tooth replacement option that distributes force down to your jaw bone.
A partial denture can help brace your teeth against drifting sideways, but it can’t really bear the force of chewing. It can take a little bit, but because it sits on your gums, it can’t bear as much as your natural teeth.
A dental bridge doesn’t actually add any new support, either, although it does help by balancing forces better among remaining teeth, especially those adjacent to the gap.
Other Replacement Options Damage Teeth
A dental implant is also the only tooth replacement option that doesn’t damage your natural teeth.
In order to support a dental bridge, it’s necessary to remove natural material from teeth on either side of the missing tooth. This is a controlled operation, and it only minimally reduces the strength of those teeth, but it does reduce their strength.
Partial dentures can also impact your natural teeth. Partial dentures are often secured by clasps that go around your natural teeth, resulting in tooth wear and potentially increasing the risk of tooth decay if you don’t practice appropriate oral hygiene.
Dental implants are completely self-contained and require no modification to your natural teeth.
Risk Comparable to Natural Tooth
However, there is one way that a dental implant could pose a risk to your neighboring teeth: peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is an infection around the dental implant that can cause jawbone loss around the dental implant that could, potentially, threaten neighboring teeth.
But peri-implantitis is really no different that periodontitis, an infection of your gums around your natural teeth, which can threaten all your teeth (and, statistically, is the most common reason why people need dental implants).
Overall, dental implants are actually the best tooth replacement option for preserving your remaining teeth. If you want to learn more about the benefits of dental implants in Irvine, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Orange County cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry.