Losing one or more teeth can have lots of far-reaching consequences, including jawbone loss. That’s right; tooth loss can cause bone deterioration in your jaw. But how?
You see, the teeth play a critical role in maintaining the jawbone’s structure and general health. The force of mastication also signals the osteocytes to maximize jawbone mass and calcium content. Which is a fancy way of saying that when you chew, the roots of your teeth stimulate your jawbone, encouraging it to absorb more nutrients and grow denser.
However, when you have a missing tooth, the masticatory force and jawbone decrease, leading to jawbone atrophy, also known as jawbone loss or deterioration. If left untreated, jawbone atrophy can lead to serious health problems, including gum diseases, tooth damage, and cavities. Jawbone loss can also lead to facial sagging, wrinkled skin around your mouth, headaches, jaw pain, and impairment of general oral functions such as chewing and talking.
Fortunately, jawbone loss can be prevented and treated using dental implants. Continue reading to learn how dental implants can help prevent or treat jawbone loss.
How Dental Implants Keep Jawbones Healthy
As the patient heals up after dental implant surgery, osseointegration occurs, and the tooth root implants, usually made of a special titanium alloy, start to bond to the jawbone. Osseointegration is a process that refers to the permanent bond that is formed when the jawbone cells fuse directly to the titanium dental implant posts.
If osseointegration is successful, the titanium posts start to act as pseudo roots in your jaw and take over the role previously played by the natural tooth’s roots, including stimulation of the jawbone. This, in turn, encourages jawbone growth and prevents any further deterioration.
Can Dental Implants Help Severe Jawbone Loss?
Yes, they can help. But how is this possible given that this treatment relies on the implant ports attaching themselves to a healthy, strong jaw bone? The issue of not having a strong jawbone to hold the implants can be solved by bone grafting. Bone grafting is a procedure where bone mass from another part of the body or another donor replaces the bone mass loss in the jaw. In cases where the loss of bone mass in the jaw is too severe, the dentist will recommend alternative treatments.
Signs of Jawbone Loss
In general, jawbone loss is a gradual process, and you may not immediately notice it in the early stages. That said, here are some symptoms that could signal bone deterioration in your jaw.
– Changes in your bite and jaw structure
– Pain or discomfort when chewing
– Lips begin to sink inward
– Loose or shifting teeth
– Increased difficulty speaking
– Wrinkled skin around your mouth
If you are suffering from jawbone atrophy, dental implants may be an excellent solution for you. For the best dental implant procedures, contact us at Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery.