Originally published Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 07:00p.m.

Teeth play an important role in our daily lives. Not only do they help us chew and digest food, but they affect our speech and are critical for facial feature support and self-esteem.

It is critical to find a solution when teeth are damaged, lost, or missing, because a person is at risk for many symptoms when left untreated. A person may have: difficulty eating, drooling, impaired speech, migraines, TMJ pain, nerve pain, shifting teeth, bone loss, and drooping of maxillary sinuses. If you are missing teeth, you are not alone.

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 35 million Americans lack some of their natural teeth in either one or both jaws. As dentists, we see patients with absent teeth on a regular basis. Often individuals will ask, “What are my options for my missing or damaged teeth?” When an individual is missing teeth, dentists can use artificial materials to replace and restore the teeth back to normal function.

Some examples of different prosthetics that are used when patients are missing teeth are: implant bridges, crowns, dentures, and partial dentures. These may be suitable options in some cases for damaged or missing teeth depending on your individual needs.

However, if an individual has a more serious dental issue, or is missing many teeth, sometimes these prosthetics may not provide enough support. In some incidences there may be a poor fit, or the patient may struggle to keep dentures in while eating or talking. In these incidences, dentists may recommend dental implants.

Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth and help maintain the bone density of the jawbone as well as filling the gap between teeth. Implants are a great option because they provide solid support and improved comfort over dentures and bridgework. They also are so natural looking that most people will have no idea it is an implant! A patient may be a good fit for implants if one or more missing or damaged teeth need to be replaced, if the jaw bone is sturdy enough to anchor implants, and if the individual is healthy enough for surgery.

The first step to deciding if implants are the right decision for you would be to make a consultation appointment with your dentist. He or she will be able to perform the proper evaluations to help you decide the solution that is best to replace your missing or damaged teeth!

No matter what a person’s current dental situation may be, there are many modern advances that have transpired in dentistry that can help you achieve confidence in your smile again!

Reach Dr. Jason Campbell and Dr. Rick Farnsworth at Pro Solutions Dental Group. www.prescottdentist.com.