Are you considering dental implants to replace missing teeth? Dental implants are considered to be the gold standard for tooth replacement, as they have many benefits over other tooth replacement options.
What do dental implants have to do with bone loss of the jaw? They can prevent it from happening. While bone loss is more common as a patient ages, it can happen to anyone with a missing tooth. Once bone resorbs or dissolves, it is gone for good.
Here’s what you should know about dental implants and bone loss.
What is bone loss?
Bone loss occurs when a bone breaks down and resorbs, meaning it dissolves and gets absorbed by the body. This can happen in the jaw bone when a tooth is missing. Once the tooth root is no longer in the socket, there is nothing for the bone to hold onto. It will immediately start to resorb as soon as the tooth is gone. It is a gradual process that won’t exactly occur overnight. However, the sooner a missing tooth is replaced with a dental implant the better to prevent further bone loss.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth and root system used by dentists to replace a missing or damaged tooth. The titanium root is surgically implanted in the jaw bone where it will osseointegrate (bond with) the bone. Once it has bonded to form a solid hold, an abutment and crown will be attached to the top. The implant looks and functions just like a natural tooth. The root is made of titanium because it is biocompatible with the bone and tissues of the mouth.
Dental Implants Can Prevent Bone Loss in the Jaw
The biggest reason dentists recommend dental implants for tooth replacement is because they can prevent bone loss in the jaw. If you have a tooth that is damaged or decayed beyond saving, it is best to replace it with an implant as soon as possible following extraction. After a tooth is removed or falls out, the jaw bone immediately starts to resorb. The longer the tooth is missing, the weaker the bone becomes. Once the implant root is put in place, the bone can immediately start to bond with the titanium to create a solid hold. When the bone has something to hold onto, it will stay strong and thrive.
A Dental Implant Procedure Requires Sufficient Bone Density in the Jaw
If a tooth has been missing for too long, the bone may have weakened or resorbed too much to support a dental implant. In this case a bone graft procedure can be performed to strengthen the bone. A bone graft involves surgically implanting an artificial bone or a piece of animal bone on top of the weakened jaw bone. This not only strengthens the bone, but encourages regrowth of the existing bone.
It may take a few months for the bone to regenerate enough to support an implant. But it is important to give it ample time to bond and grow before attempting an implant procedure. Otherwise the implant may fail and the entire process will need to be redone.
The Benefits of Implant Supported Dentures
Another way that implants can prevent bone loss is in the form of implant supported dentures. If you need a complete arch of teeth replaced, dentures are usually the best option. Some dentures adhere to the gums and other dentures are supported by implants.
Implant supported dentures have many benefits. By placing just a few dental implants in the jaw bone, the entire denture arch has an anchor to keep it solidly in place. The dental implants prevent loss of bone in the jaw, and you can avoid dealing with dentures that slip and slide when you eat and talk.
Prevent Bone Loss with Implants from Emerson Dental
Emerson Dental recommends dental implants for teeth replacement in most cases. Their bone preserving benefits and other advantages make them the best option for replacing missing or damaged teeth. If you have one or more teeth that need to be replaced, discuss your options with the professionals at Emerson Dental.
Call 978-399-0017 to schedule a consultation at our Westford Office or 781-394-9213 for our Bedford Office. You can also request an appointment. We look forward to restoring your smile in the best possible way.