By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

February 02, 2023

The Complete Guide on How Dental Implants Improve Your Oral Functions: Smile, Speak and Chew Like No Other

Whether you’re struggling with missing teeth, uncomfortable conventional dentures, or damaged teeth, dental implants may be the solution you’ve been seeking.

Dental implants are widely regarded as the gold standard for tooth replacement, offering a level of stability and durability unmatched by other alternatives. Aside from this, it can also significantly improve aesthetics and function, which could have been diminished due to the loss of one or more teeth.

In this blog post, we will explore how dental implants improve oral health. We’ll discuss the benefits of dental implants on biting and chewing and provide tips on how to properly care for dental implants so that they last for a long time.

If you want to know more about how dental implants improve oral functions, keep reading!

Summary of the Content

Missing teeth can lead to various oral health problems, including difficulty chewing, biting food, and speaking. It can also lead to jawbone and gum health problems and self-esteem issues.
Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone to act as artificial tooth roots, onto which a dental prosthesis is attached.
Dental implants can improve a person’s speech, chewing and biting ability, facial aesthetics, and oral health.
Dental implants function like natural teeth, providing stability, durability, and improved bite force.
Teeth implants help maintain healthy jawbone density, preventing bone loss that can lead to changes in facial structure and appearance.
Dental implants are custom-made to match the size, shape, and colour of the patient’s natural teeth, restoring their beautiful smile and facial structure.
The process of placing dental implants involves consultation and treatment planning, preparation of the jawbone, implant placement, osseointegration, and attachment of the dental prosthesis.

The Impact of Missing Teeth on Oral Functions

Missing teeth can significantly impact oral functions and overall oral health. Here are some ways in which missing teeth can affect oral functions:

  • Chewing and biting:
    Missing teeth can make it difficult to chew and bite food properly. This can result in improper digestion and poor nutrition. Over time, it can also cause excessive wear and tear on the remaining teeth, leading to further dental problems.

  • Speaking:
    Teeth play an important role in speech. As such, missing teeth can affect how a person speaks. This can affect speech clarity because of the difficulty pronouncing certain words or sounds.

  • Jawbone health:
    Losing a tooth can cause the jawbone that used to support the tooth to deteriorate or shrink. This can lead to changes in facial structure and appearance and further tooth loss.

  • Gum health:
    Missing teeth can result in gum recession. When this happens, the gums pull away from the surrounding teeth. This increases a person’s risk of further losing teeth and developing gum disease.

  • Self-esteem:
    Losing a tooth can affect a person’s confidence and self-esteem. This is especially true if the missing teeth are noticeable when speaking or smiling.

It is important to address missing teeth as soon as possible. This can help improve oral functions and prevent oral health problems.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a viable option for replacing missing teeth. These titanium screws are surgically implanted into the jawbone to act as artificial tooth roots. Once they have successfully fused with the bone, a dental prosthesis or false tooth is attached to the implant. This could either be a dental crown, bridge, or denture.

Dental implants provide a long-lasting, safe, and effective dental restoration that improves one’s appearance and function.

How Dental Implants Improve Speech

Dental implants can significantly impact a person’s speech and overall oral function. Here are some ways in which dental implants can improve speech:

  • Gaps in teeth or loose dentures can cause air to escape during speech, leading to lisping or whistling sounds. Dental implants fill the gaps left by missing teeth. This helps prevent speech impediments that may result from missing teeth, such as lisping, slurring, or difficulty with certain sounds.

  • They provide stability for implant-supported teeth. They prevent slippage and movement, which may cause lisps or other speech impediments due to missing teeth. This results in a more natural speaking pattern with improved pronunciation and articulation.

  • The facial structure, including the lips and cheeks, plays a vital role in speech production. Dental implants provide adequate support to these soft tissues, which helps maintain the proper positioning and movement of the lips and cheeks during speech. This leads to better articulation and pronunciation of words.

How Dental Implants Improve Chewing and Biting

Dental implants are popular among people with missing teeth or damaged teeth requiring extraction. One of the key advantages of dental implants is their ability to significantly improve oral functions, including mastication.

Here are the ways dental implants positively impact biting and chewing:

  • Stability and Durability:
    Dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone to act as artificial tooth roots. This provides a stable and durable foundation for the replacement teeth attached to the implants. Dental implants stay firmly in place, unlike traditional dentures or bridges that can slip or shift. This allows for more efficient biting and chewing.

  • Improved Bite Force:
    Dental implants can endure the same amount of pressure as natural teeth, allowing patients to bite and chew with the same force they had prior to tooth loss. Consequently, patients can chew more efficiently and comfortably, leading to improved digestion and nutrient absorption.

  • Better Jawbone Health:
    Missing teeth can cause jawbone deterioration due to a lack of stimulation. Dental implants promote bone growth by stimulating the jawbone, preserving its density, and preventing bone loss. This helps maintain the facial shape and structure, which in turn, improves chewing and biting abilities.

Overall, dental implants greatly enhance chewing and biting abilities, providing patients with a more comfortable and efficient way to eat. This improvement contributes to overall health and well-being.

How Dental Implants Improve Facial Aesthetics

Dental implants provide a natural-looking way to replace missing teeth. Here’s how dental implants work to improve facial aesthetics:

  • Restores Smile:
    The absence of teeth can significantly influence an individual’s smile, potentially affecting their confidence and self-esteem. Dental implants feature custom-made replacement teeth, carefully designed to match the size, shape, and colour of the patient’s natural teeth. This meticulous customization results in a natural-looking, radiant smile that boosts confidence.

  • Maintains Facial Structure:
    When teeth are missing, the jawbone deteriorates due to a lack of stimulation. As a result, the person’s facial structure changes, making them look older and less attractive. Dental implants provide the necessary stimulation to maintain healthy jawbone density. This prevents jawbone loss, which helps maintain the shape and structure of the face.

  • Improved Lip and Cheek Support:
    Dental implants provide proper support for the lips and cheeks, maintaining the fullness and contours of the face. This support can counteract the potential sagging or hollowing of facial features that may occur when teeth are missing.

  • Prevents teeth shifting:
    When teeth are missing, the adjacent teeth may shift or drift into the empty spaces, leading to misalignment and an altered bite. Dental implants fill these gaps, helping to maintain proper spacing and alignment of the teeth, which contributes to a more balanced and attractive smile.

  • Improved confidence:
    A healthy, complete smile can greatly impact an individual’s self-confidence and overall appearance. Dental implants offer a secure and natural-looking solution for missing teeth, allowing patients to feel more confident in their facial aesthetics and smile.

Improved facial aesthetics enhance a person’s confidence and self-esteem. This can lead to improved self-image and personal relationships.

How are Dental Implants Placed?

The process of dental implant placement involves the following steps:

  • Consultation and Treatment Plan:
    The initial step in obtaining a dental implant involves consulting with a dental professional who will assess your oral health and medical condition to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. During this consultation, you will discuss your treatment goals, and a personalised treatment plan will be created.

  • Preparation of the Jawbone:
    If a damaged or decayed tooth remains at the implant site, it must first be removed through tooth extraction. In cases where there is insufficient bone to support the implant, bone grafting or sinus lift procedures may be necessary to augment the bone in the area.

  • Placement of the Implant:
    Once the jawbone is prepared, the dentist will place the dental implant. They will make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone and then drill a hole for the implant.

  • Osseointegration:
    Following implant placement, the jawbone will grow and fuse with the implant in a process called osseointegration. This can take several weeks to months.

  • Abutment Placement:
    After osseointegration is complete, the dentist will attach an abutment to the implant. This small connector post will support the replacement tooth or bridge.

  • Impressions:
    With the abutment in place, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth and jaw to create a custom dental prosthetic.

  • Placement of Dental Prosthesis:
    Once the prosthesis or replacement tooth is ready, it will be affixed to the abutment. The dentist will ensure that it fits properly and looks natural.

Dental implant procedures can take several months. The result is a long-lasting and natural-looking replacement tooth that can last many years with proper care.

How Do Dental Implants Function?

Dental implants offer a reliable and long-term treatment option for patients with missing teeth. They help improve function and aesthetics. Implants function similarly to our natural teeth, providing a solid anchor for the prosthetic tooth.

The implant is placed into the jawbone through oral surgery and then integrates with the surrounding bone tissue over time. This process creates a strong foundation for the artificial tooth, allowing it to feel as secure as a real one. Through this innovative technology, dental implants can provide a lasting solution for replacing missing or damaged teeth.

Improved Nutrition and Overall Health with Dental Implants

Dental implants not only restore aesthetics and promote good oral hygiene but also contribute to better nutrition and overall health.

By providing enhanced biting and chewing capabilities, dental implants enable patients to consume a broader variety of nutritious foods that may have been challenging or impossible for them to eat previously.

Additionally, improved oral health contributes to healthier bodies by promoting more efficient digestion and absorption of essential nutrients from diverse food sources. This results in increased energy levels and improved overall well-being.

With the help of dental implants, you can experience the benefits of improved nutrition and a healthier lifestyle.

How Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss

When a tooth is lost or extracted, the jawbone no longer receives the stimulation it needs to maintain bone density and shape. Over time, the jawbone can start to deteriorate or resorb. This leads to a decrease in bone volume and changes in the facial structure.

Because dental implants are placed directly into the jawbone, they mimic the function of natural tooth roots. The implant is made of a biocompatible material such as titanium. This allows the implant to fuse with the surrounding bone tissue through osseointegration.

Once the implant is fused with the bone, it provides the necessary stimulation to the jawbone, just like a natural tooth root. This prevents bone loss and helps maintain the structure of the jaw and surrounding tissues.

Dental Implants and Gum Health

Dental implant treatment can improve gum health in several ways:

  • Reduces the Risk of Periodontal Disease:
    Dental implants can help prevent the shifting of adjacent teeth into the empty spaces left by missing teeth. This shifting can lead to misaligned teeth, which can be more difficult to clean, increasing the risk of periodontal or gum disease. By filling the gaps and maintaining proper teeth alignment, dental implants can contribute to healthier gums.

  • Prevents Gum Recession:
    When teeth are missing, the surrounding gums may recede due to a lack of support from the tooth roots. Dental implants act as artificial tooth roots, providing stability and support to the gums, helping to maintain their proper position and prevent gum recession.

  • Encourages Proper Oral Hygiene:
    Dental implants function and look like natural teeth, which can motivate individuals to maintain good oral hygiene practices. A consistent oral care routine, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, is crucial for maintaining healthy gums around dental implants.

Dental Implants and Adjacent Teeth

Dental implants provide a stable and long-lasting tooth replacement option. They benefit adjacent teeth in several ways, including:

  • Maintaining proper alignment:
    When a tooth is missing, the neighbouring teeth may begin to shift or drift into the empty space, resulting in misalignment and an altered bite. Dental implants fill these gaps, helping to maintain the proper spacing and alignment of teeth, which can prevent a domino effect of misalignment and preserve the harmony of the dental arch.

  • Preventing excessive wear and tear:
    When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth may bear additional pressure and stress during biting and chewing, leading to increased wear and tear over time. Dental implants distribute biting forces more evenly by replacing missing teeth, reducing the burden on nearby teeth, and helping to protect them from excessive wear.

  • Supporting adjacent teeth during restoration:
    In cases where a dental bridge is used to replace missing teeth, dental implants can serve as an anchor for the bridge without affecting adjacent teeth. Traditional dental bridges often require the reduction of neighbouring teeth to accommodate the bridge, which can weaken them. Dental implants eliminate the need for this reduction, preserving the natural tooth structure of adjacent teeth.

  • Reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease:
    By maintaining proper spacing and alignment, dental implants make it easier to clean and maintain good oral hygiene. This can help reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which can negatively affect adjacent teeth.

Success rates and risks associated with dental implants

Dental implants are considered a safe and effective tooth replacement option with a high success rate. According to a study published in the Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, the success rate of dental implants is about 90-95 per cent. However, individual success rates may vary depending on several factors, including:

  • The patient’s overall health
  • The quality of the bone
  • The location of the implant

Risks associated with dental implants are generally low, but they do exist. Some potential risks associated with this dental treatment include:

  1. Infection:
    Like any surgical procedure, dental implant surgery has a risk of infection. To help reduce the risk of infection, practice proper oral hygiene habits, including regular brushing and flossing.

  2. Implant Failure:
    While rare, dental implants can fail. This happens if they do not fuse properly with the jawbone. Factors that can lead to implant failure include smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and poor oral hygiene.

  3. Nerve Damage:
    In rare cases, the placement of dental implants can cause nerve damage. This can result in pain or numbness in the surrounding teeth, gums, lips, or chin.

  4. Sinus Problems:
    Dental implants placed in the upper jaw can sometimes protrude into the sinus cavity. This causes sinus problems such as pain, congestion, or infection.

It’s important to note that these risks are rare. These can often be prevented or minimised with proper care and maintenance. Prior to undergoing the dental implant treatment, patients are advised to have a discussion with their dentist regarding the associated risks and benefits of this dental procedure.

Caring for Dental Implants

There are many ways in which dental implants benefit oral functions. To optimise these benefits, proper care of dental implants is essential. This help with their long-term success. Here are some tips on how to care for dental implants:

  • Brush and floss regularly:
    Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to avoid scratching the implant surface. Floss gently around the implant and avoid pulling too hard on the floss.

  • Use a non-alcoholic mouthwash:
    An antibacterial mouthwash can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. However, avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes as they can dry the mouth. 

  • Avoid hard or sticky foods:
    Avoid foods like nuts and candy and sticky foods like caramel. It can potentially damage the implant or the crown. Avoid chewing on hard objects or using your teeth to open packages.

  • Attend regular dental check-ups:
    Regular dental visits play a crucial role in maintaining healthy gums and ensuring the proper upkeep of dental implants. Your dentist will also examine the implant and crown to check that they are secured in place.

  • Quit smoking:
    Smoking can impair the healing process. It also increases the risk of implant failure. If you smoke, quitting can help improve the chances of a successful implant.
  • Wear a mouthguard: If you play sports or grind your teeth at night, wear a mouthguard. This will protect your implant and surrounding teeth.

By following these tips, you can help promote the longevity and success of your dental implants. If you have concerns about caring for your dental implant, consult your dentist.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants play a significant role in restoring oral functions. They help improve the quality of life for people with missing teeth. Dental implants offer a long-term teeth replacement option that mimics natural teeth in appearance, function, and durability.

Teeth implants provide several benefits, such as:

  • Good oral health
  • Better speech
  • Improved chewing function
  • Preservation of the jaw bone

Proper care of dental implants is crucial to their long-term success. The essential components of good implant maintenance include:

  • Regular dental check-ups
  • Proper brushing and flossing
  • Avoiding hard and sticky foods

Dental implants may be a viable option if you are missing teeth or have removable dentures that are uncomfortable or unstable. Speak with your dentist to learn more about how dental implants benefit oral functions and whether they are the right solution for you.

Visit our website or call Hills Family Dental Centre today to take the first step toward discovering what dental implants can do for you. Appointments are quick and easy. Simply book online or give us a call. We look forward to helping you achieve optimal dental health through quality dental care.