Many young adults are missing teeth due to genetics or have lost teeth through sports injuries or accidents. This means that there are a surprising number of people who have already had dental work to address missing teeth even before they reach middle age. Some of these people may not have been given the option of a dental implant in Los Angeles or were told that they were not a candidate for the procedure. If this is the case, they were most likely given a bridge which requires cutting two healthy (virgin) adjacent teeth to replace the missing tooth. The implant is a much better option in this type of situation.
Dental implants offer many benefits over a dental bridge, making them an attractive option for people of all ages. Young people with an existing bridge may be waiting until the bridge needs to be replaced before exploring the possibility of dental implants. There are a few things I point out to younger patients when they come into my office for a consultation.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
It is easy to see why an increasing number of people are choosing dental implants.
- Dental implants look and feel more like natural teeth
- They prevent bone loss and gum recession
- They do not require alteration (cutting) of natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth
- They are more permanent than bridges or dentures
- Oral hygiene measures (brushing and flossing) are easier when you have a single implant as compared with a bridge
You can learn more about dental implants by reading my previous post on Cosmetic Surgery Chronicle.
An Important Reason Not to Wait
If you’re a student or recent graduate, dental work may seem like a major expense, something that you would like to put off until you are more financially stable. You may also feel like you don’t have the time to spend in a dentist’s chair. Without invalidating these concerns, there are some reasons not to wait until your current bridge needs to be replaced or repaired, the most significant of which is this: the gums and bone around missing teeth deteriorate over time. For example, three years without a tooth will lead to 40 to 60 percent bone loss. So, the longer you wait to switch to implants, the more likely it is that you will need bone and gum grafts.
If you’ve already had your bridge for several years, you may be wondering, “Is it too late? Has my bone already deteriorated too much for an implant?” Although the only way to answer that question with any certainty is to meet with a qualified Los Angeles implant dentist, my general response would be, “Not necessarily.” For individuals with insufficient bone to support an implant, bone grafting and ridge augmentation can be a highly effective option.