Our appearance means a lot to us and we all spend a lot of time taking care of our skin, whether it’s by using lotions or by eating in the right way to produce the energy our skin cells need to keep on living. Did you know, though, that if you haven’t replaced your missing tooth that you are contributing to the risk for premature aging? That’s right, a missing tooth leads to bone loss and this not only changes the shape of your face, but causes you to look older than you truly are. Fortunately, a dental implant can help you avoid that problem.
Wait, How Does Tooth Loss Contribute to Aging?
Much like a muscle, our jaws need to be exercised to keep them strong and healthy. That’s because the force and pressure created, when we chew our food, causes the bone tissue to strain, which in turn catalyzes a process of natural bone regeneration and growth. Our teeth act as conduits between that force and our jaws, which means that if there are no teeth then that section of the jaw is no longer receiving the stimulation it needs.
When the jawbone is no longer rebuilding itself, it starts to slowly wear down. Rather than repair the bone, the jaw’s tissues start to gradually die passively and the affected portions of the bone will recede. This is what happens when patients who are missing teeth wait too long to treat them. It’s also why bone augmentation procedures sometimes are needed before the actual implant treatment — the implant acts like a tooth and it needs healthy bone to anchor itself in.
As the jaw recedes, the face’s bone structure starts to change in shape. A receded jaw may cause the skin along the jawline to loosen and sag, which accelerates the cracking and wrinkling of the skin, making you look much older.
How Dental Implants Protect Your Skin
Tooth implants perform many of the same functions that human teeth do. It’s a feature that makes them remarkable and it’s also why the jawbone has to have sufficient density before the treatment can begin. The implant’s fixture connects to the bone through an organic process known as osseointegration, which is basically how the jaw assimilates the implant in place. Because of how it’s connected, the implant can transmit the pressure and strain from eating and chewing to the bone.
In fact, implants are unique amongst tooth replacements in this sense. Other replacements, including partial dentures and dental bridges, don’t benefit from the same integration with the jaw, and so only implants can stimulate the bone regeneration the bone in that area needs. In fact, not only do they help preserve healthy tissue there, but it can also promote its growth.
Because of how well implants stimulate tissue growth, sometimes patients who have minor bone loss can still receive dental implants undergoing a grafting procedure first. In some cases, the fixture can be placed along a weakened jaw and this sudden impact on the bone can lead to dramatic regeneration, enough even to robustly hold the fixture in place. Note that this does not necessarily describe your procedure, but it does serve to illustrate the power of the implant.
They can help with much more than premature aging, though. Implants also help protect against dental infection, including tooth decay and gum disease. The latter, in particular, can also seep into the bone. Implants are easy to clean and maintain —much like natural teeth — and they eliminate large gaps that can act as “food traps”, which attract the bacteria that cause infections. They also help keep your teeth straight by stopping teeth from shifting out of place.
All the benefits of dental implants work together to maintain your appearance. Apart from helping to keep the skin along your jawline smooth and healthy, they also affect the look of your smile. See for yourself:
Our appearance matters because it can affect our mood and how we feel about ourselves. People who are missing teeth are less likely to smile and people who smile less tend to be unhappier. Causation runs both ways — being unhappy would also cause you to smile less — but our physiology plays an important role in how we feel. Have you ever faked laugh only to find yourself actually laughing? Even holding a fake smile can make you feel better if you hold it for long enough.
It’s no coincidence that patients who suffer from tooth loss are also more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s true that patients who aren’t happy are less likely to take proper care of teeth, but causation can run both ways. Feeling embarrassed to smile affects your mood.
Why put yourself through the dental, mental, and overall health problems associated with tooth loss? Aging is a big deal, but so is infection, heart disease — yes, your oral health can affect your cardiovascular wellbeing —, and your happiness. Dental implants can provide you with a comprehensive solution that you’ll be able to count on for a very long time — perhaps even your entire life.
Start the Journey Towards a Stunning Smile
Don’t put your health at risk, when you deserve better. If you are missing one or more teeth, we can help you find a quality and affordable solution. Our practice is located on 96 Division Street in Trenton, ON, between William and Joseph Streets. Schedule your no-obligation consultation with us today.