If you have lost one or more teeth, you already know that missing teeth affects your smile. Depending on the location of your missing tooth or teeth, you might already be aware that they affect your ability to bite and chew, and sometimes can affect your smile.
However, you may not realize how missing teeth can alter the aesthetic appearance of your face. In some cases, multiple missing teeth can completely change how you look. The loss of teeth can cause your face to sag and lose its natural shape. Tooth loss can even make you look a lot older than you really are.
Dental implants can change all that to restore the youthful appearance of your face.
How Missing Teeth Affect Your Face
Your teeth do more than help you eat and create a great smile – they actually give your face shape and symmetry. Your molars, or back teeth, help maintain the shape of your jawline.
In a healthy mouth with no missing teeth, the jawbone supports the roots of the teeth to keep your teeth firmly anchored in place. When you bite down and chew, you exert pressure on your teeth. This pressure moves down the tooth into the tooth root and then into your jawbone, where it stimulates growth of the bone.
A strong jawbone helps maintain the shape of your face. It defines your jawline, for example, and a strong jawbone also supports some of the facial muscles that gives your face shape and definition.
When you lose a tooth, though, you also lose the stimulation to your jawbone and the growth it triggers. This means your jawbone starts to deteriorate in the area where the root used to be. As your jawbone deteriorates, the shape of your face changes, especially around your jawline. A shrinking jawbone loses its ability to support your facial muscles, which can change the way you look. Without teeth, a deteriorating jawbone can cause your cheeks to look sunken in or sagging that can make you look older; doctors often refer to this as “facial collapse.”
Dentures and dental bridges cannot prevent facial collapse
While dentures and dental bridges can replace one or more missing teeth, they do not provide the stimulation the jawbone needs to maintain strength and shape.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacements for missing teeth. These tooth replacements can prevent further facial sagging and aging while restoring your ability to bite, chew, speak and smile.
More specifically, dental implants are tooth root replacements that hold artificial teeth. Dental implants are metal posts, usually made of titanium, that your dentist implants into your jaw. Over the course of weeks, your jawbone fuses with the metal rod, in a process known as osseointegration. This creates a strong anchor for the artificial tooth.
Dental implants can reduce your risk for facial collapse
Because they are embedded into your jawbone just like a natural tooth root, dental implants stimulate growth and strength in your jawbone, thereby reducing your chance of sagging skin and a sunken-in appearance associated with facial collapse.
You can enjoy facial rejuvenation even if you have lost all of your teeth on your upper or lower jaw. One dental implant can hold a single replacement tooth (crown) or several crowns. In fact, you can still get dental implants if you are missing all your teeth on your upper or lower jaw. Known as an “all on 4,” all your upper or lower replacement teeth snap securely onto four metal posts.
While some dental crowns are permanently affixed to the dental implant, you may benefit from an overdenture, which is a type of removable dentures that cover or rest upon one or more of your natural teeth.
Benefits of Dental Implants in Facial Rejuvenation
If you have lost one or more teeth and are experiencing premature aging and other effects of missing teeth, dental implants may be the right choice for you. Dental implants provide a number of benefits over dentures or dental bridges, including:
- Aesthetics – dental implants can improve the natural shape and contours of your jawline and cheekbones to give you a younger, more vibrant appearance
- Cost – while dental implant cost is higher than dentures, tooth implant cost is a one-time expense; dentures and dental bridges require replacement after a few years, whereas dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth
- Natural appearance and function – unlike dentures that can often appear fake and make you look older, dental implants look, feel and function just like your natural teeth… but better!
- Exceptional fit – nothing makes you feel older than dentures that can slip, slide, and even fall out when you are speaking or eating; dental implants stay firmly in place, even when you bite into food or laugh out loud
For more information on the role dental implants play in facial rejuvenation, contact the dental professionals at Liberty Family Dentistry. Our dentist in Bloomington can provide the dental care you need to look and feel your best.