When you lose a tooth, several things happen. First, your smile is affected, and can lead to a lack of confidence. Second, eating and speaking properly can become difficult.
A third, hidden consequence, of tooth loss is the loss of bone density, which eventually results in changes to the shape of your jaw. Fortunately, just because you have lost a tooth, that doesn't mean you have to lose bone density.
Why is Bone Density Lost?The roots of your teeth are planted in your jawbone, holding your teeth in place. But how do they do this? Every time you chew, the roots stimulate the bone, and send a message to your body that nutrients are required. These nutrients help to keep the bone strong.
When a tooth is lost, there is no more stimulation, so the body begins to think that the original amount of nutrients is no longer needed, and therefore sends less. Without proper nutrition, the bone loses density and becomes weak.
Dental ImplantsMissing teeth should be replaced. However, traditional methods of tooth replacement, such as a bridge, do not stimulate the jaw, and it therefore continues to lose density despite the replacement.
Dental implants are small titanium rods that are surgically placed into the jawbone to act as anchors for replacement teeth. Being directly in the bone, the implant mimics the natural root of a tooth and stops bone loss.
Bone GraftsSometimes, if you have already lost too much bone density, implants cannot immediately be placed. But that doesn't mean you can't get them. You first need to have a bone graft.
A bone graft takes bone from another area of your body and grafts it into the weakened portion of your jaw, fusing with your existing jawbone and strengthening it. After a bone graft, a dental implant can be placed to prevent new bone loss.
Losing bone density after losing a tooth is a natural occurrence. However, it is one that can be stopped. Speak with your periodontist to discuss your options.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at (410) 260-0790 today.