Posted on 7/16/2012 by Dr. Franco
|Dentures, dental bridges and dental implants are all methods used by an implant dentist to reconstruct a person’s smile that has been compromised by lost teeth. But while each method brings its own benefits, only dental implants can help prevent jawbone atrophy.
While dentures and dental bridges can restore the visual appearance of a smile, they do not address the problem of jawbone atrophy. As a result, dental implants have grown in popularity as an alternative method of dental reconstruction.
When we lose a tooth, either through accident or if removed by a dentist, the jawbone around the location of the now-missing tooth can, over time, suffer from degradation and lead to a loss of bone mass in the jaw. In natural, healthy teeth the root helps to prevent jawbone atrophy from occurring by providing stimulus to the bone during chewing.
However, once the tooth is lost, the root is no longer present and thus there is no stimulus to help the jawbone regenerate and grow. As a result, and if dental implants are not used as a replacement treatment, the bone will begin to deteriorate and bring with it some unwanted consequences.
Jawbone atrophy can lead to the mouth, jaw and even facial features to alter themselves as the mass of bone in the jaw lessens, leading to such facial profile changes as sagging jaws, drooping lips and sunken cheeks. The deterioration doesn’t just center around the missing tooth either, and loss of bone mass can spread throughout the jawbone, further affecting other teeth in the mouth.
Dental implants help stop jawbone atrophy as the titanium support that is used by an implant dentist is placed directly into the patient’s gum tissue and over a period of time will fuse directly onto the jawbone, in a process known as osseointegration.
The dental implant not only provides a firm support for the visible part of the treatment – a porcelain crown placed atop the implant – but also seeks to replace the missing root by restoring lost stimulus back to the jawbone, halting bone loss and helping the jawbone to replenish its bone mass.
Long-time wearers of dentures or bridges may already have suffered jawbone atrophy, and so a consultation with an implant dentist is vital to determine whether they have sufficient bone mass, or if a procedure known as a bone graft is required prior to the placement of dental implants.
For more information and to schedule your consultation, call our office serving Irving TX today.
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PEDRO F. FRANCO, DDS
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IRVING, TX 75062
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ENNIS, TX 75119