The Benefits of Dental Implants

It’s not uncommon for adults who are missing any number of adult teeth to feel embarrassed or insecure about their appearance. Unfortunately, though teeth are part of our bodies, unlike bone they cannot heal themselves or grow back when lost or extracted. For those missing adult teeth, this often means either going without a tooth or wearing a prosthetic bridge or denture to fill in the gap. But for a more permanent solution to replace missing adult teeth, there is a more permanent solution: dental implants.

Dental implants are prosthetic teeth that attach to the gums via a metal screw that is implanted into the jawbone. Once the screw has healed securely into place, a prosthetic crown is screwed on to the exposed metal screw, creating the look of a natural tooth. Considered the gold standard in replacing teeth, dental implants do more than just improve patient self-esteem and the look of the mouth. Here are some other benefits to installing dental implants.

Speech

Though not true for everyone, when you are missing teeth it can sometimes affect your speech. Missing teeth can make it sound like you have a lisp or speech impediment, something that can make you feel self-conscious. This can cause problems in a person’s work and personal life and cause them to withdraw from engaging in conversations or speaking up about important matters.

When you replace missing teeth with dental implants, your speech should return to normal, giving you the confidence to speak up again.

Chewing

When you are missing a tooth or teeth, chewing may become difficult or even painful. The good news is that with dental implants, your crown acts as a natural tooth, enabling you to chew regularly without any pain or discomfort, as if your natural tooth or teeth were never missing in the first place.

Protection of Other Teeth and Gums

Another benefit to replacing lost teeth with dental implants is the effect dental implants will have on your other teeth. When you are missing adult teeth, it can cause a lot of trouble for your existing teeth, bones and gums. First of all, there’s a risk of bone degradation in the space where the tooth was removed. The longer a bone goes without a tooth, the higher the risk of bone degradation. Bone degradation can cause the loss of other teeth as well as a sagging face and jaw.

Closing the gap with dental implants can also protect your gums from gum disease, because plaque and bacteria have a harder time getting into the gums.

Easier to Care For

Cleaning dental implants is easier than cleaning dentures, because you can brush them and floss between them just like you would your natural teeth. With dentures, you must remove them to clean them very carefully. Because dental implants mimic natural teeth removing them is not necessary for most cleanings.

To learn more about the dental implant process from Dr. Lesko, please call 970-812-0355.


Epigenetics Could Someday Restore Tooth Roots

Imagine someday being able to eliminate missing teeth by restoring the roots of decayed teeth. If researchers at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California have their way, that could be possible. That’s because researchers have found a formula that could regenerate those roots, using a process called epigenetic regulation.

Epigenetics is defined as the study of alterations to organisms via modification of gene expression, and epigenetics may be the key to controlling the pattern and formation of tooth rot.

Researchers discovered that tooth rot patterns are controlled by proteins called Arid1a and Ezh2. When these two proteins are in balance, and in certain configurations of tooth roots are in just the right place with the jawbone, a tooth rot pattern can be established.

Dr. Allison Lesko is a Fort Collins-based dentist. She says this type of breakthrough could make a huge difference in how we treat rotten teeth.

“Right now, if a tooth is badly decayed, there’s a chance it may need to be pulled,” Lesko says. “With this discovery, they may someday be able to restore tooth roots, which means even if a tooth is pulled we may not need to rely on dentures or dental implants to replace it.”

That’s because with regenerated roots, the researchers at USC believe they can create enough of a replacement tooth to at least cover it with a crown.

“A crown over an existing tooth is a much better option than a dental implant,” says Lesko. “While dental implants are really the Cadillac of dental prosthetics, there is always a chance of something called implant failure.”

Implant failure occurs when the screw used to anchor a dental implant to the jaw fails to implant itself into the jawbone. This can happen due to bone loss or deterioration, which can occur when too much time passes between the loss of the tooth and the attempted implantation.

“With regenerated tooth roots and a bit of naturally regrown tooth, the risk of implant failure would be obsolete,” Lesko says.

Another benefit to the study that was noted by its authors? The discovery could someday treat cancer, too.

According to the researchers at USC, some cancers can be affected by epigenetic regulators; when these regulators are out of balance, cancer can develop. The key to treating these cancers is to find a way to balance the epigenetics and stop the cancer in its tracks.

“I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about epigenetics in the near future,” says Lesko. “There are some exciting breakthroughs already, and they’re still just scratching the surface.”


The Best Way to Replace a Missing Tooth

A missing tooth can be embarrassing, especially if it’s toward the front of your mouth where it can be seen every time you smile. When it’s toward the back of the mouth and no one can see it, many people are tempted to leave it alone and not replace it to save time, money or the anxiety of a dentist visit. Did you know that leaving a space in your mouth where a tooth used to be can actually cause your face to begin aging prematurely and cause many oral problems, such as misalignment of the jaw and damage to other teeth?

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