In fact, statistics show that 69% of adults aged 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. And, by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.
So, no matter how good we are at brushing, flossing, and visiting our dentist for regular checks, it is likely that the day will come when a tooth falls out or your dentist delivers the news that an extraction is the only option.
Of course, this doesn’t mean a permanently broken smile for the rest of your life. There are a number of options for filling in the gap, from bridges to partial dentures. But the procedure that has revolutionised tooth replacement in recent years is implant surgery.
If you’ve suffered tooth loss implants give you a permanent replacement tooth, fixed into the gum just like the real thing.
The implant itself – think of it as the root of your replacement tooth – is a titanium screw-like fixture that is fitted into the jaw bone.
A ceramic tooth, carefully constructed to match your natural teeth, is then attached to the screw.
Implants are the closest you can get to natural teeth. Our patients have been pleasantly surprised how natural the implant looks and tell us nobody looking at an implant can spot the difference. Plus, of course, implants stay permanently in place and function just like your own teeth when it comes to eating – no need to worry about tough foods breaking the tooth or pulling it out.
Implants really are the next best thing to real teeth – although some people would argue that they are even better.
One patient at Medcare’s dental practice was really disappointed after his implant surgery that he didn’t have enough money to have all his teeth taken out and a whole set of implants fitted instead!
“It’s so much better than the real thing,” he raved. “It’s so strong and secure. It feels tougher than my real teeth. It’s a bionic tooth – why wouldn’t I want them all replaced.”
While having healthy teeth removed to have dental implants is not advised, if you have more than one tooth missing, or even if you have all your teeth missing, dental implants are an option.
In these cases you don’t have to have every tooth fitted individually. Instead, your dentist will fit ‘screws’ into your jaw line at intervals, with the teeth in between joined to the ceramic teeth that fit on the ‘screws’.
Another big advantage with implants is that they actually help prevent the bone deterioration that can happen after tooth loss.
Many people who lose a tooth, especially if it is in the back of the mouth and not visible, are tempted to leave a gap. This may cause slight inconvenience when eating, but they figure they will get used to it and it doesn’t really matter.
However, by leaving a gap the bone of the jaw can begin to recede and this may threaten adjacent teeth. An implant will prevent this.
For implants to be successful it is important that the dentist uses the best quality materials. At Medcare we deal with a family run dental lab that has been manufacturing and providing dental materials for generations. This gives us and our patients great confidence. And, in the unlikely event that there are problems with your implant, both the lab and our dentist can offer the very best aftercare.
If you want to find out more about implant surgery, book a free consultation with the Medcare dentist.