When you lose one or more teeth, you will notice a disruption in your oral function and in the appearance of your smile. If you do not seek prompt tooth replacement treatment from your dentist, you might experience further dental complications, including continued loss of bone, shifting teeth, and changes to your bite.
The treatment of choice for missing teeth is typically dental implants. Unlike removable dental prosthetics (dentures), dental implants act like your natural teeth by keeping your jawbone intact and healthy. Read on to learn more about how missing teeth can impact the health of your jaw and how implant dentistry can help.
How Does Tooth Loss Affect the Jaw?
In healthy dental patients, the tooth’s root extends below the gumline into the jawbone. This root serves as a stimulus to the bone there, keeping it strong and stable. If you lose a tooth, the jawbone no longer receives this stimulation.
In the absence of the tooth’s root, the bone that supported your tooth will deteriorate. This can lead to a sagging appearance in the face and the shifting of any remaining teeth. You cannot prevent this without intervention from your dentist in the form of tooth replacement.
Will Dental Implants Preserve the Jawbone?
Dental implants are a restorative dental solution that your dentist can use to replace your missing teeth and preserve the jawbone. The dentist surgically places a titanium root replacement into the jaw, where it will integrate with the bone there as it heals. Ultimately, this will serve as a support for a prosthetic tooth.
When restored with an implant crown, your dental implant will allow you to perform oral functions with ease and fill gaps in your smile. The implant also acts as a substitute for the missing root and provides stimulation to the jawbone again. This will stop the degeneration of the bone.
You can protect the structure of your face and teeth with this treatment. Removable tooth replacement solutions like dentures will only replace teeth above the gumline. Dentures do not offer this restorative dental benefit to the bone.
Will My Mouth Support a Dental Implant?
While the advantages of replacing lost teeth with dental implants are clear, not all dental patients are candidates for immediate dental implant placement. Implants require enough bone for predictable and successful placement as well as the proper integration of the fixture. If too much bone has deteriorated after tooth loss, then the jaw cannot successfully support the implant without augmentation.
If this occurs, your dentist might suggest a bone graft. This procedure is typically performed by a periodontist or oral surgeon. Once the graft integrates, the jaw will have enough three-dimensional volume to retain a dental implant.
Your dentist can evaluate your jaw health and bone density through x-ray imaging taken during a consult appointment. They can determine your eligibility for implant dentistry based on these images. Call your dentist today to learn if dental implants can restore your smile after tooth loss.