Dental implants are the preferred treatment choice for replacing missing teeth. What you may not know is that filling in an open space with a dental implant can also slow or stop the bone deterioration that’s associated with tooth loss.
Understanding the Tooth/Bone Connection
The bone in your jaw, just like those in the rest of your body, follows a specific lifecycle. As bones age, their tissues are resorbed into your body, and new bone forms to replace them. In the jaw, our bone growth occurs in response to stimulation. That is, when we use our teeth to bite or chew. But when we lose a tooth, there’s nothing to stimulate the bone. So, it starts to shrink. If the tooth isn’t replaced relatively soon with a dental implant, it can lead to secondary complications, including:
- Gum recession
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech challenges
- Shifting, tilting of adjacent teeth
- Sagging, collapsed facial features
How Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
Dental implants not only replace teeth, they naturally encourage bone growth. The science behind this “osseointegration” phenomenon is that the titanium metal used in implants stimulates a natural affinity in the bone. After an implant is placed in the jaw, the bone cells adjacent to it begin to grow and attach themselves to the titanium post. This osseointegration cycle stabilizes bone loss and the implant itself, by providing the stimulation the jaw needs to stay healthy. It’s also what makes implant treatment so successful!
The negative effects of tooth loss are progressive. Waiting too long to replace a missing tooth could lead to excess bone deterioration (resorption). And when too much bone is resorbed, it limits the space and support available to place an implant. That’s why we recommend getting an implant consultation as quickly as possible following tooth loss or extraction.
Are You a Candidate for Implants?
Dental implants are a good option for people with:
- Sufficient bone height and density
- Healthy gums
- No serious underlying health issues
- Good oral hygiene habits
Dental implants offer a natural, permanent solution for people with missing teeth. Choosing to get a dental implant improves your smile in more ways than one. For more information on dental implant placement and preventing bone loss, contact our office to schedule a consultation with our Plainfield IL Oral Surgeon.