By: Dr. Christopher Lim
Posted on: August 27, 2019
Whether you lead a high profile life or not, a great deal of your sense of self will be attributed to how you feel about your looks. We know through research that men and women tend to notice others’ smiles very quickly, with some going so far as to report judging a person based on the appearance of the smile. Employers, as well, report feeling more favorable towards applicants with attractive smiles. Due to the importance of the smile in the various areas of life, it makes sense to protect its youthful characteristics.
For centuries, the appearance of the teeth has been used to estimate age. The older a person, the more his or her teeth are discolored and worn. A smile lacking a full set of teeth would also be expected in the older individual.
In addition to making obvious gaps in the smile, missing teeth also lead to the development of angular facial features and the sinking in of lips and cheeks. This may occur even in the individual who had had teeth replaced with dentures.
The natural oral anatomy is designed to achieve a number of goals, one of which is to support the facial contours. When teeth are lost, so are their roots. Roots are what tether teeth to the underlying bone. They also transfer force from teeth to this bone material every time opposing teeth meet. This transfer of force stimulates the natural regeneration of bone tissue in the jaw. Without it, bone breaks down and the face loses the support it needs to look healthy and youthful.
An implant is essentially an artificial root, a small post made from biocompatible titanium. Tooth replacement with implants consists of a minor procedure through which the posts are inserted into the jawbone. The implants are covered by gum tissue and they remain undisturbed while bone in the jaw gradually fuses to them. As implant posts reach full stabilization in the jawbone, they can be uncovered and topped with crowns, a bridge, or a denture appliance.