Because of the deterioration of jawbone that occurs with tooth loss, people with missing teeth can appear older than they are. The dentists at Calgary explain why this occurs and how dental implants can help.
Missing Teeth & Your Jaw Bone
Bone requires stimulation to maintain its density and shape. The stimulation for the jawbone comes from the teeth. Every day, your teeth make hundreds of brief contacts with one another. Small stresses are created on the teeth as a result of these contacts, which are then transmitted to the bone. This causes it to regenerate regularly.
When a tooth is lost, the stimulation that is provided to the surrounding bone is lost, which can lead to bone loss. A single missing tooth is frequently the first sign of bone loss. The bone in this area begins to shrink without the tooth's reinforcing presence.
As teeth continue to break down and fall out, bone density decreases, setting off a destructive cycle.
When enough teeth are lost and the bone continues to deteriorate, the distance between the nose and the chin begins to shrink, resulting in facial collapse. Lips sag due to a lack of structural support. This is why people who are missing teeth may appear unhappy or older than they are. Bone loss can make you more susceptible to jaw fractures and erosion over time, which can affect your ability to speak and chew.
In addition to jaw bone deterioration, the teeth that remain will start to shift into the gaps left by the missing teeth. In turn, this can cause additional bite problems and even jaw joint (TMJ) pain.
How Dental Implants Help
Dental implants are tooth replacements that are designed in part to prevent all this. For starters, dental implants can help to restore the function and aesthetics of your smile, allowing you to eat, chew and speak effectively while maintaining the appearance of strong, healthy teeth.
Furthermore, dental implants can help to prevent bone loss. This is because they are made of titanium, which can fuse to living bone. Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jaw and become a permanent part of it, stimulating and stabilizing the bone and assisting in its volume and density maintenance.
A local anesthetic is used to place dental implants during an in-office surgical procedure. They are then capped with dental crowns, either immediately or after a healing period. Together, these components resemble a natural tooth in appearance, feel, and function.
Because implants function similarly to natural teeth, they apply the same amount of pressure to the jaw bone, keeping it functional and healthy.
Your dental implants will be permanent and can last for many years, if not a lifetime, with regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings — the same maintenance and care that natural teeth require.
Ask Your Dentist for Recommendations
When it comes to jaw bone density, the passage of time is crucial. It's critical to fill missing tooth gaps as soon as possible because the longer a patient waits, the more bone density is lost, making it more difficult to place a dental implant to reinforce the jaw bone.
When it comes to oral health, your dentist is an invaluable resource who can advise you on whether you need a tooth replacement and which option is best for you.