Modern dentistry has given patients the ability to restore the beauty and health of their smiles. One of the tools that modern dentists use to help replace a missing tooth is a dental implant.

Many patients have heard of dental implants but haven't taken the time to fully research these unique dental devices. You must become familiar with dental implants in order to truly appreciate the value these implants can add to your life.

Here are three interesting facts about dental implants that will give you a greater appreciation for these small, yet ingenious, dental devices.

1. Dental Implants Preserve Oral Health

A dental implant is a solution that is used only when extreme oral damage has occurred. Whether you lose a tooth to decay or you get a tooth knocked out by accident, a dental implant can be used to help restore your smile and preserve your oral health.

Some other options available for replacing missing teeth can actually be detrimental to your oral health over time.

Bridges must be anchored to an adjacent tooth in order to remain firmly in place. It's difficult to properly clean these anchor points, which could accelerate tooth decay. Dentures can rub and pinch, creating painful gum sores.

A dental implant looks, feels, and acts like a natural tooth, so you don't have to worry about your replacement dental device causing any future oral health problems.

2. Dental Implants Preserve Your Appearance

The type of dental device you select to replace a missing tooth can have a direct impact on your appearance over time. Dental implants offer the best results because they mimic the form and function of a natural tooth.

Your jawbone relies on the stimulation it receives from your teeth. Without this stimulation, the jawbone can weaken and deteriorate. The result of a deteriorating jawbone is a significant change in facial appearance.

Dental implants can help you avoid an aging, sunken-in look after the loss of a tooth.

A dental implant is anchored directly to the jawbone. This type of anchor point allows the jawbone to maintain adequate stimulation, which preserves your appearance and can help you look younger.

3. Dental Implants Save You Money

Patients often cite cost as a limiting factor when it comes to choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth. A dental implant will have a higher up-front cost because of the invasive nature of the installation process.

Your dentist will need to surgically insert a screw into your jawbone, allow time for healing, then place a specialized crown onto the screw to complete your finished look. Some patients may also need a bone graft if the jawbone has already begun to deteriorate. Each of these procedures requires time and money.

It's important that you compare the lifetime costs of all dental devices before you make your decision. Dentures will not fit correctly as your jawbone deteriorates and changes. You will have to invest in multiple pairs of dentures over your lifetime in order to maintain your comfort.

Bridges can easily crack or come loose, requiring multiple trips to the dentist for repairs.

A dental implant is designed to look and feel like a natural tooth. You will be able to brush and floss normally with a dental implant, and you don't have to worry about losing the implant or having it come loose.

If you are interested in a dental device that won't break the bank, dental implants are actually your best option.

Using dental implants to replace missing teeth provides many benefits. Talk to your dentist about the advantages dental implants can offer you in the future.