When you lose one or more teeth, you might notice heightened difficulties performing oral functions as well as a disruption in your smile’s appearance. But you could also suffer further deterioration in your oral health without tooth replacement treatment from your dentist, including in your jaw.
You can find the most comprehensive restorative dental treatment with dental implants, which can protect your jaw, unlike other tooth replacement options. Read on to learn more about how tooth loss affects the jaw and how your dentist can preserve its structure through implant dentistry.
What Happens to the Jaw When You Lose a Tooth?
Healthy dental patients have a full set of teeth that feature tooth roots that extend below the gumline to the jaw. The tooth root stimulates the bone in the jaw, which keeps it strong and stable. If a patient loses a tooth, the jaw no longer receives stimulation from a tooth root.
In the root’s absence, the bone in the jaw begins to deteriorate. This can result in a sagging appearance in the face and a shift in the position of the remaining teeth. You cannot stop this effect on your own and will need intervention from a dentist to prevent these issues.
How Do Dental Implants Protect Jawbone Health?
A dental implant consists of a titanium post anchor that a dentist surgically places into the jaw. It fuses to the jawbone as it heals over the course of a few months. Then it acts as a support for prosthetic teeth. Whether you need to replace one, several, or an entire arch of teeth, dental implants can restore your smile.
Implants can specifically help your jaw in the wake of tooth loss because the anchor serves as a replacement for the missing tooth root. It stimulates the bone in the jaw again, stopping it from deteriorating. In some cases, it can encourage bone that was already lost to regenerate.
This treatment can then help you preserve your facial and dental structure. Removable tooth replacement solutions like dentures will only replace teeth above the gumline. This will not offer the same benefits as implant dentistry.
Will My Jaw Sustain a Dental Implant?
Though the advantages of dental implants are clear, this is not a viable treatment for every dental patient. Implants rely on the fusion of the anchor with the jawbone to support the prosthetic teeth. If too much bone has deteriorated following tooth loss, the jaw cannot sustain the dental implant.
In this case, a dentist might suggest a bone graft. During this procedure, a surgeon will place bone matter from elsewhere into the jaw to add structure. Once this heals, it could be strong enough to support a dental implant.
The dentist will evaluate your jaw health before pursuing this treatment using x-ray imaging taken during a consult. They can discuss your eligibility for this tooth replacement treatment and what the process entails when you schedule a dental appointment.