Missing teeth lead to a host of unwanted problems that go beyond the unattractive gaps within your smile. In fact, some of the biggest setbacks from a missing permanent tooth is what goes on beneath the gum line. A lost tooth also means a lost tooth root.
How Does Bone Loss Occur After Missing Teeth
We need the roots of our teeth to stimulate our jawbone when we chew or bite down. Just like other bones in your body, the jawbone will atrophy or shrink without consistent stimulation. Overtime, this can impact the density and shape of your jaw, which in turn influences your facial appearance. Patients with missing teeth may experience a collapse or hallowed-look in the lower part of their face, making them look much older than they really are. This is commonly referred to as premature facial aging.
Avoiding Bone Loss
There is more than one way to replace a missing tooth. However, dental implants are the only method that will prevent bone loss. Dental implants have the unique ability to replace the tooth root as well as the tooth. A titanium screw (implant) is surgically inserted into the jaw bone. Over time, the implant fuses to the surrounding bone and acts as a prosthetic tooth root that will hold a crown, denture or bridge on top. In this way, your jawbone can be naturally stimulated like it would with your real teeth.
What if Bone Loss Has Already Occurred?
Many patients come to us for dental implants after bone loss has already occurred within their jaw. This can be from severe periodontal disease or simply from the progressive bone loss that has occurred since their teeth went missing. Regardless of the reason, bone loss needs to be reversed in order to qualify for dental implants. If the jaw bone does not have enough density or height to secure the titanium screw, the implant will fail.
Fortunately, bone grafting can be performed to rebuild the jaw bone enough to support a dental implant. At Peninsula Dentistry, we proudly offer dental implants as well as Advanced Bone Grafting techniques. Call our Charleston dental clinic today to learn more.