When you lose a tooth, your first thought is likely to be about the unsightly gap in your smile. You might also worry about the effect it will have on your speech, and whether you will still be able to enjoy your favorite foods. These are valid concerns, all of which can be improved or corrected by a variety of different tooth replacement options. However, tooth loss has another destructive side effect that you might not be aware of – bone deterioration. Dental implant treatment can help keep your jawbone healthy as well as restoring your smile.
Why tooth loss causes bone loss
There is more to a tooth than meets the eye. Below the gum line, hidden from sight, are the roots. They extend to the jawbone, holding teeth in place and keeping them stable. When you bite down, the pressure on teeth is transferred to the jawbone, via roots and periodontal ligaments. This stimulation triggers healthy cell regeneration within the bone.
What happens when you lose a tooth or several teeth?
- The bone in that area is deprived of stimulation from tooth roots.
- Like a muscle that is never used, it becomes weak and begins to deteriorate.
- There is an average 25 percent reduction in the bone width within 12 months of losing teeth.
- Within the next few years, the bone height decreases by an average of four millimeters.
Traditional dentures and bridgework don't help the bone, because they don't replace the root. In fact, implants are the only treatment that does replace tooth roots.
How implants protect your smile
Implant treatment is designed to replicate the anatomy and functionality of a natural tooth. An implant is similar in size and shape to a natural tooth root. It is placed in the jawbone, providing a solid foundation for restorations. Specially designed crowns, bridges, or dentures may be attached to implants. Biting force is transferred from the restorations to the implants and then the bone, just like a tooth. Most importantly, the body responds just as it does to a natural tooth. Bone tissue fuses with the implant, and healthy cell regeneration continues.
In addition to keeping your jawbone strong and healthy, dental implant treatment allows you to eat what you like, speak clearly, and smile with confidence. If you are missing one or more teeth, call 32 Dental at (770) 423-1132 and schedule a consultation at our Kennesaw office to find out if implants are right for you.