Tooth loss affects millions of American adults, causing lingering issues with the look, function, and health of their smiles. Dentists will suggest tooth replacement solutions to restore their oral health after losing one or more teeth.
Implant dentistry is the most thorough and long-lasting way to replace missing teeth. Unlike removable options, dental implants can protect the jawbone from ill effects after tooth loss. Read on to learn more about the impact that dental implants can have on your jawbone health in the event of tooth loss.
What Happens to Jawbone After Tooth Loss?
Ordinarily, a healthy tooth features a root that extends below the gumline to the jaw. It stimulates the bone there so that it remains strong and stable. When a patient loses a tooth, the jaw no longer receives this stimulation.
In the tooth root’s absence, the jawbone begins to deteriorate. This can lead to further oral health issues, like the appearance of facial sagging and the shifting positions of the remaining teeth. This will worsen the patient’s ability to eat and speak, already made difficult after tooth loss. Without tooth replacement treatment from your dentist, this issue will continue.
How Do Dental Implants Help the Jaw?
A dental implant is a tooth replacement solution that can help prevent bone loss in the jaw. The fixture features a titanium post anchor that a dentist surgically places into the jaw. It fuses to the bone as the surgical site heals, replacing the absent tooth root.
The dentist can then place a dental crown, bridge, or denture, depending on your unique dental needs, to act as prosthetic teeth. These attach to the anchor, creating a long-lasting solution. Removable dentures cannot offer the same advantages to jawbone health because they replace teeth only above the gumline.
The implant will remain in place for twenty or more years with proper care. Throughout this time, the implant will stop the bone from deteriorating and encourage bone already lost to regrow. Patients will also perform oral functions without issue and see an enhancement in the look of their smiles with this treatment.
Can My Jaw Support a Dental Implant?
Though dental implants offer major restorative benefits, not every patient will qualify for this tooth replacement solution. Because an implant needs to fuse with the jawbone, it requires a decent amount of bone in the jaw to sustain the anchor.
If too much jawbone has already been lost due to tooth loss, the jaw might not be strong enough to support an implant. Your dentist can check the health and structure of your jaw through x-ray imaging taken during a dental consultation.
Patients with less stable jaws might need oral surgery to build more structure to the jaw. This procedure is called bone grafting and involves taking bone from elsewhere in the mouth and adding it to the jawbone. If this treatment is not feasible, your dentist may suggest other tooth replacement solutions.