Implants Prevent Bone Loss
Tooth loss causes a number of problems. Difficulty in eating and speaking, reduced confidence, and quality of life are part and parcel of this condition. But what many people don’t know is that tooth loss can also result in bone loss. A lost tooth can cause nearby teeth to shift out of position, changing your entire facial appearance by making it sag.
Fortunately, dental implants are an excellent means of restoring missing teeth, and they also prevent bone loss. They offer a permanent prosthetic solution that restores dental function and improves your oral health. Keep reading to find out why.
Tooth Loss and Bone Loss
Your jaw bone requires a certain amount of stimulation to maintain its density and form. Your natural tooth roots provide this stimulation because they penetrate the jaw bone to keep it healthy when you bite and chew. This regular movement allows the jaw bone to regenerate so it can support your teeth.
However, if a tooth is lost or extracted, then the underlying jaw bone is no longer stimulated and will begin to deteriorate. The jaw bone shrinks in height, width, and volume, and if many teeth are missing, this can negatively impact the structure of your face.
How Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
Dental implants are highly successful when it comes to replacing lost teeth and revitalizing the jaw bone. Implants consist of a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jaw bone, a ceramic crown that resembles and looks like a natural tooth, and an abutment that connects them. We can also attach bridges or dentures to the implant posts, depending on the case.
Titanium (or a similar metal) is used for the posts because it is biocompatible (meaning it responds favorably to the human body). For a successful treatment, the post must bond with the jaw bone so that the two grow together in a process known as osseointegration. Once this happens, the post will act as an artificial tooth root and provide the jaw bone with the same stimulation as a natural tooth root would.
Other Tooth Replacement Options Don’t Prevent Bone Loss
Other prosthetic tooth replacement options like dentures and dental bridges don’t do this. These alternative options either rest on the gums or are attached to natural teeth, so they don’t penetrate deep down and stimulate the jawbone. If you opt for an option like dentures or bridges, you might restore your ability to eat, speak, and smile normally, but your jaw bone will remain unaffected.
Cases of Significant Bone Loss
Patients who have had lost teeth or worn dentures for a long time will often have some form of atrophy in the jaw bone. You will need an adequate amount of jaw bone to support and maintain a dental implant, so if you have significant bone loss you may need a bone graft. A bone graft will allow us to restore parts of the jaw to make it dense enough to support an implant.
Candidacy for Dental Implant Surgery
To receive a dental implant, you will need to undergo some minor dental surgery. Good candidates for this treatment must have good overall health, have moderately healthy teeth and gums, and must not smoke tobacco. Tobacco causes complications can increase the chance of implant failure, so if you smoke, we will have you quit before surgery and abstain for the duration of the recovery period.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (503) 446-6776.