When teeth are lost, whether it’s from decay or from trauma, it can make basic tasks like eating and speaking much more difficult. You may be embarrassed to smile if you have multiple gaps, but these aren’t the only problems that should concern you. Missing teeth is indicative of a much larger and more permanent issue: bone loss.
If you want to prevent your jawbone from changing shape, maintain your appearance and make chewing easier again, keep reading this post from an implant dentist.
What Happens After Tooth Loss
While the crown is the most obvious part of your tooth to go after it’s extracted, it’s important that you take note of the section that’s typically sitting underneath the gum line. This includes the tooth root, which carries many essential functions outside of simply holding teeth inside your gums. Not only do they make it possible for you to chew foods, but they’re also responsible for blood flow. The roots also work to stimulate the bone and maintain its form and density.
When we talk about the bone, we’re specifically referring to the sac-like alveolar bone that surrounds the root and supports teeth. When the tooth is lost, it’s no longer stimulating that alveolar bone, allowing it to resorb back into the body where it’s needed. Within the first year after extraction, the bone decreases by 25 percent. After a few more years, the bone height begins to shrink as well, making it more difficult to replace with implants.
The Implications of Missing Teeth
The more missing teeth you have, the more your face changes shape and the weaker your jaw becomes over time. That means even if you have remaining teeth to use, your ability to bite down is going to be dramatically reduced. This is because the basal bone, the bone directly underneath the alveolar variety, is going to begin resorbing as well. Resorption of this bone will critically affect your jaw.
Furthermore, missing teeth only allows neighboring teeth to shift into the open spaces in order to compensate. This will inevitably lead to an uneven bite, which can make it easier for teeth to rub up against each other and increase permanent enamel erosion.
How Dental Implants Can Help
Dentures and bridges can replace teeth, but they don’t get to the source of the issue. Dental implants are designed to replace the entire root structure as well as the crown that makes up your smile. Thanks to titanium’s biocompatibility, it will begin to bond with your existing alveolar bone and allow stimulation to occur. When stimulation occurs, the jaw ceases to shrink and remains strong for many years to come.
Don’t let tooth loss ruin your smile and your diet. Schedule a consultation for dental implants today and learn if you’re eligible for treatment!
About the Author
Dr. Tim Stirneman earned his DDS degree from the Creighton University Dental School. As part of his continuing education, he’s completed 120 hours of dental implant training in order to properly place and restore implants. To learn more about his practice and see if dental implants are viable for your unique case, you can contact him through his website.