Dental Implants to Stabilise Teeth Lost Through Tooth Decay

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One of the main applications of dental implants is to stabilise artificial teeth used to replace teeth lost through tooth decay. In this article we look at both the process which leads to the need for dental implants, and the role dental implants play in dealing with teeth lost through decay.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is one of the major causes of tooth loss, and is a consequence of an abundance of bacteria feeding on an excess of nutrients in the mouth. Our oral cavity (the term used to describe the mouth and all its components including our teeth and gums) is usually full of bacteria because of the warm, moist environment. These are ideal conditions for bacterial growth, however in most cases regular brushing and a balanced diet prevent populations of bacteria within the mouth from growing excessively.

When a person has poor oral hygiene practices and eats a lot of foods rich in sugars, then conditions in their mouth begin to change as the population of bacteria flourishes. While the bacteria themselves can do little to directly damage the hard substances that make up our teeth, the processes by which they digest sugars and other materials can produce acids that, over time, wear away at our teeth.

In most cases damage to the tooth through decay can’t be remedied, although small cavities can recover if a mouth is kept healthy for a long time. Larger decay lesions can be treated either with fillings or extractions. Extractions remove teeth that have been compromised by cavities to the point where they can’t function, and in fact pose a risk to other teeth and the rest of the mouth.

When teeth have been removed measures need to be taken to keep the mouth as a whole working as it should, and to prevent other effects of tooth loss like damage to the gums and a loss of jawbone. Essential to these measures in modern dentistry is the use of dental implants to stabilise dentures and crowns which can be used to replace lost teeth, and maintain the integrity and health of the mouth as a whole.

The use of dental implants

Dentures provide an invaluable replacement for missing teeth, however without the stabilising effects of dental implants, many dentures carry with them some serious downsides. These include, for example, the fact that many dentures can rub against the gum, causing serious discomfort and potentially damage. This excess movement also poses a problem when a person is eating, restricting the foods available to them because the lack of support means that these dentures can’t effectively cope with chewy or hard foods.

Implants offer a system of support which mimics the natural roots found beneath our teeth. They are installed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse for stability and strength, so that when a denture is fixed to a set of implants, it is firmly held in place. This allows for the mastication of more foods, and greater comfort when doing so. 

The many benefits of dental implants make them extremely attractive to people who have lost teeth through tooth decay and through other causes like injury or gum disease. These implants are not restricted to use with dentures, although in many cases they are used to support full or partial dentures. They can also be used to support crowns to great effect. Regardless of why they are being used or to stabilise what, dental implants are an invaluable tool that have brought modern dental prosthetics closer to the ideal of artificial teeth that work, look, and feel like their natural counterparts.

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