Jaw and Gum Resorption
Your teeth are an important feature of your mouth, responsible for many different tasks. Following tooth loss, basic tasks like eating and speaking become more challenging. Your smile suffers. Below the gums, something else occurs. Your jawbone begins to lose bone mass, growing weaker over time. The more teeth you lose, the more significant the effects. While dentures have traditionally been used to replace missing teeth, they cannot stop the bone loss that occurs after tooth loss. At Keith A. Boenning, DDS, we can replace missing teeth with dental implants, a popular modern treatment that replaces your missing teeth and helps to stop bone loss in your jaw, protecting its health and its integrity.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a modern treatment used to replace missing teeth. This particular treatment uses small titanium posts, which are surgically placed in your jawbone, to provide support for your replacement teeth. A process called osseointegration occurs. Your bone fuses gradually to the posts, stabilizing them and turning them into secure roots that hold your new teeth in place. Your new teeth are incredibly secure and will not move around, slip out of place, or fall out.
Jaw and Gum Resorption
One of the lesser known, yet incredibly important, roles of your teeth is to provide stimulation for your jawbone. This stimulation triggers your body to send essential nutrients, which are required for the health and strength of your jawbone. When you suffer tooth loss, however, your jaw loses stimulation. As a result, your body begins to think that fewer nutrients are required. Your jawbone begins to lose mass and weaken. This can cause the bone to begin to change shape, which then affects the alignment of your healthy teeth and the aesthetics of your face.
Dentures and bridges are the traditional treatments for replacing missing teeth. While they can replace many of the functions of your missing teeth, they cannot stop bone loss in your jaw. Because of this, your jawbone continues to lose mass, even though your teeth have been replaced and you can chew normally. Your jawbone continues to change shape. When your restorations, particularly dentures, no longer fit properly, they can accelerate the rate of bone loss, and can also lead to gum resorption as well.
Stopping Resorption with Dental Implants
Dental implants provide several amazing benefits. One of the benefits only provided by implants is the restoration of the stimulation to your jawbone. The implant posts become replacement roots that not only support your new teeth but stimulate your jawbone as well. With a restoration of stimulation, your body begins sending the necessary nutrients once again. This helps to put a stop to bone loss while preventing new bone loss from occurring. Additionally, because your teeth are supported by the implant posts rather than your gums, this aids in preventing gum resorption.
What if I Have Lost Too Much Bone Mass?
If you have lost too much bone mass, your jaw may not be able to fuse properly, or at all, to the implant posts. This can affect the success of your dental implant treatment and cause implant failure. Just because your bone is too weak, this does not mean that you cannot get implants. In many situations, a bone graft can restore missing bone mass, giving your jaw the strength it needs to support your implants and your new teeth. If you are missing an entire arch of teeth, you may be able to avoid the need for a bone graft with the All on four treatment concept. This treatment uses four strategically placed implant posts that maximize contact between the posts and your jawbone to ensure optimal fusion.
Dental implants can help to put a stop to jaw and gum resorption, helping to preserve the strength and integrity of your jaw. For more information, and to find out if dental implants are right for you, call Keith A. Boenning, DDS at (410) 828-1717 today.