It pains you to smile. It's not because of any physical discomfort — it's because of the embarrassment you feel about those teeth you're missing on the top row, leaving visible gaps.
Tooth loss, either full or partial, is not a natural part of aging but is relatively common in older adults. Fortunately, you have more options than your parents did to fix gaps in your gumline. Dental implants are used to surgically replace entire teeth and root structures. Crowns are used to cap teeth that are artificial and attached by implants — or cap natural teeth that, due to decay, need a new top without requiring full replacement. Both procedures can restore confidence and improve dental and overall health.
The number of people who have had a dental implant procedure increased about eightfold between 1999 and 2016. That number is expected to increase dramatically again in the coming years, with as many as one quarter of people with a missing tooth expected to have dental implants by 2026. Driving this increase is new technology that improves the speed and ease of these procedures. Research shows that dental implants are generally safe and effective for people of all ages who are in relatively good health and meet eligibility standards.
Many of the recent advances in dental implants and crowns came about due to the use of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to create tooth restorations. Devices using CAD-CAM technology can cut many time-consuming steps from...
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