Tooth loss affects millions of Americans, making it difficult to complete oral functions with ease and disrupting the appearance of their smiles. However, without tooth replacement treatment from a dentist, these patients may develop further complications.
Dental implants can provide optimal preservation and restoration of a patient’s smile after tooth loss. They can protect the jaw especially, which removable devices cannot do. Read on to learn about the impact that dental implants can have on the health of your jawbone after losing one or more teeth.
What Happens to Your Jaw After Tooth Loss?
In healthy dental patients, their teeth extend below the gumline to a root that reaches the jaw. The tooth root acts as a stimulus to the bone there, keeping it active, stable, and strong.
If a patient loses a tooth, the jawbone no longer receives this stimulation. In the absence of the tooth root, the bone in the jaw begins to deteriorate.
Over time, this can lead to the appearance of facial sagging, the shifting of remaining teeth, and more oral health concerns. You cannot stop this degenerative process without the help of a dentist. This is why dentists emphasize seeking tooth replacement solutions if they have missing teeth.
How Do Dental Implants Help Jawbone Health?
A dental implant is a fixed tooth replacement treatment, meaning it cannot be removed once placed. It features a titanium post anchor which a dentist surgically inserts into the jaw. It fuses with the bone there as it heals, securing it into place.
A prosthetic crown, bridge, or denture will attach to the anchor above the gumline after the patient recovers. But the anchor can also serve as a replacement for the missing tooth root.
It stimulates the bone in the jaw once again, stopping it from degrading. This will also encourage bone that may have already been lost to regrow in some cases. Patients will appreciate the preservation of the facial and dental structure as well as the easier ability to chew and complete other oral functions.
Will My Jaw Support a Dental Implant?
Though dental implants offer many useful oral health advantages, not every patient is eligible to receive this treatment. Implants can help patients with bone loss in their jaws. But because the anchor of the implant must fuse with the jawbone, there must be enough healthy bone to sustain the fixture.
If too much bone has degenerated, the jaw cannot support a dental implant. In this case, a dentist may suggest a bone graft. This oral surgery can take bone from elsewhere in the mouth and add it to the jaw, building more stability.
A dentist can evaluate your jawbone and your eligibility for implant dentistry during a consultation. They can get a good look using x-ray imaging. If a bone graft is not feasible, you may need to seek alternative tooth replacement treatment.