A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don’t feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own!
One more reason to take care of your teeth
Poor dental health has already been linked to heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke- now a recently released study has drawn a connection between dental health and cognitive abilities. Research from the University of North Carolina indicates that the presence of tooth decay and/or gum disease is a reliable indicator of a person’s memory and cognitive skills.
How did this study work?
Researchers followed nearly 6,000 American adults between the ages of 45 and 64. They collected data over a period of two years, including overall dental health as well as performance on various tests including word recall and number skills. The participants had various levels of oral health, with around 13 percent of the subjects having lost all of their teeth, and 12 percent with serious gum bleeding issues.
What did this study conclude?
Researchers found that performance on all cognitive tests was lower for those with no teeth left than for those with some of their own teeth, and in turn those with less serious gum problems and/or bleeding performed better than subjects with greater gum issues. In other words, the better the oral health of a particular subject, the better they performed on tests measuring mental skills.
How is oral health tied to mental health?
Scientists aren’t quite sure exactly how the decline of cognitive skills and dental health are related- while the study showed a connection, it did not prove cause and effect or show which condition happened first. However, some researchers suggest that when poor dental hygiene or a lack of preventative care leads to tooth decay and gum disease, the sufferer may alter their diet and inadvertently avoid certain foods that contribute to mental abilities. It’s also possible that the inflammation resulting from gum disease also affects inflammation levels in other parts of the body, including the brain, and this inflammation leads to decreased cognitive skills. This inflammation is also thought to contribute to diabetes and heart disease, among other health conditions.
How does this affect you?
While a direct link between oral care and mental health is still being explored, the evidence from a large number of other studies overwhelmingly suggests a much more important relationship between oral health and overall well-being than we previously thought. To keep your fitness intact as you age, support a healthy diet and regular workout routine with conscientious dental hygiene and regular visits to a dental hygienist for cleaning and checkups. Keeping your teeth and gums in the best shape possible will benefit your entire body- it seems scientists are constantly finding new connections between oral health and overall well-being.
Types of Implants in Use Today
Endosteal (in the bone)
This is the most commonly used type of implant. The various types include screws, cylinders or blades surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures.
Subperiosteal (on the bone)
These are placed on top of the jaw with the metal framework’s posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures and who have minimal bone height.