Losing one or more teeth causes several immediate short-term problems, including difficulty eating and speaking. But did you know that tooth loss can eventually lead to bone loss in the jaw and the loss of surrounding teeth? Fortunately, this can be prevented with dental implants. Read on to find out how implants can offer a permanent solution to tooth loss while preserving jawbone density.
How does tooth loss cause bone loss?
The jawbone needs stimulation to retain its shape and density, which is usually provided by chewing and biting. If a missing tooth is not replaced, the jaw no longer receives this stimulation and the bone begins to deteriorate. This process, known as resorption, gets progressively worse over time. In the first year after a tooth extraction, the width of the bone can reduce by 25%, and as bone loss continues it can change the structure of the face, giving it a sunken in, aged appearance. Replacing teeth with full or partial dentures doesn’t solve this issue because dentures exert a very small amount of chewing pressure on the bone (around 10%) compared to natural teeth. In fact, dentures can accelerate bone loss by wearing away at the ridges of bone they are placed on.
How can dental implants prevent bone loss?
Dental implants are ceramic teeth that are surgically attached to the jawbone via an artificial titanium root, mimicking the strength and stability of your natural teeth. Because the implant acts like a natural tooth root, the jawbone receives the same stimulation that it gets from your original teeth. The bone grows around the implant (a process called osseointegration), providing a permanent long-term solution for bone loss.
Am I a candidate for dental implant surgery?
Most people are eligible for dental implants, and they can be used to treat tooth loss across all ages. Dr. Gary Price at Exeter Advanced Dentistry has placed thousands of implants and will give an initial assessment to check the condition of the bone in your jaw. In some cases where there is not enough bone, or the remaining bone isn’t healthy enough, a process called bone grafting can help to prepare the jaw for dental implants. We offer several options, including All-on-4 implants, which use fewer implants than traditional methods and can often be inserted on the same day without the need for temporary dentures.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact one of our friendly team members at Exeter Advanced Dentistry today. We look forward to seeing you.