Bone Loss and Dental Implants
Tooth loss can occur for many reasons. One of the most common causes of tooth loss is gum disease. What starts with a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth results in periodontal pockets, gum recession, and weakened periodontal ligaments and bone. Tooth loss can also occur in the event of facial trauma (car accidents, sports injuries, a fall) or bruxism (grinding and clenching of the teeth). Tooth loss, no matter how it occurs, has a significant impact on the functions of your mouth, your oral health, and your appearance. At Century Dental, we provide dental implants as an option for tooth replacement. While a popular choice, your bone mass plays a significant role in your candidacy and their success.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a treatment developed to replace missing teeth, providing an alternative to traditional replacements such as bridges, partial dentures, and full dentures. They are unlike any other replacement option. Instead of being supported by your gums or teeth, your replacement teeth are supported by titanium implants that are surgically inserted into your jawbone. Dental implants can be used to replace any number of missing teeth, making them extremely versatile. They also have some benefits over traditional tooth replacement options. Along with restoring the functions and aesthetics of your mouth, implants are more comfortable, easier to care for, and permanent. They also have the unique ability to protect the health of your jawbone.
Bone Loss and Dental Implants
To be considered a candidate for dental implants, you need to have sufficient bone mass in your jaw. Implants rely on a process known as osseointegration, or the fusion of your jawbone to the titanium. This fusion is what turns the rods into strong, stable support for your new teeth. Shortly after you lose your teeth, even just one, your jawbone begins to grow weak and resorb. The longer you go without replacing your teeth, the more bone mass is lost. If you do not have enough bone mass in your jaw, fusion may not be successful. This greatly increases the risk of implant failure.
Fortunately, just because you don’t have enough bone mass when you first come in for an implant consultation, that does not automatically mean implants are no longer an option. There are a few things that can be done. One option is a bone graft. This is a surgical procedure designed to restore bone mass. If you are missing all of the teeth in an arch, you may also be a candidate for the All-on-4 treatment concept, which relies on the strategic placement of 4 implants to maximize contact with the bone mass you have left in your jaw.
How Dental Implants Protect Bone Mass
Implants offer numerous benefits. One of the biggest benefits, however, is that implants help to protect the strength and integrity of your jawbone. They can do this because of the implant, which is placed into the bone, mimics the functions of the natural tooth root. The roots of your teeth stimulate your jawbone when you chew. This stimulation sends a message to your body that nutrients are needed. When you lose your teeth, this essential stimulation is lost. This means fewer nutrients are sent, and the bone weakens. While other tooth replacement options replace the visible portion of a missing tooth, they cannot stimulate the bone. This means that the bone continues to weaken. Implants restore the stimulation of your teeth, keeping your jawbone healthy.
If you are interested in learning more about dental implants or finding out if they are the right solution for you, call (971) 708-1608 to schedule your consultation today.