You may know someone who does not have any teeth. Short of that, you may have met someone without teeth or at least seen a photo of someone who is edentulous.
You may have noticed that their faces have a kind of sunken in appearance. There’s a reason for that, and it goes beyond just not have any teeth.
Of course, losing your teeth affects more than just your appearance. It can affect your confidence and leave you feeling self-conscious in social situations. And it clearly has a big effect on your ability to eat and chew most foods.
We don’t want any of our patients at North Shore Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to deal with the problems described above. If we can, we want to keep your tooth loss to a minimum, and the best way to do that is by replacing missing teeth as soon as possible.
It’s also why we use dental implants to assist many patients who come to our dentist office in Buffalo Grove, IL.
It Can Start With A Single Tooth
Losing one tooth might not seem like a big deal when it first happens. You will probably be able to eat most things, at least for a short while.
What you don’t realize is that tooth loss can lead to bone loss, which can lead to more tooth loss. It’s a cycle that can continue for years until you become one of the 23 million Americans who are completely edentulous, according to the American College of Prosthodontists.
When you lose a single tooth, you also lose the root that was anchored in your jaw. The root used to press into your jawbone whenever you took a bite or chewed a piece of food. That pressure encouraged your tooth to keep making new tissue to replace the older tissue that is resorbed by the bone. That cycle is what keeps your jawbone healthy and strong.
Without a root to provide stimulation, your bone will not replace the old tissue in that part of your mouth. A person who has lost a single tooth can lose up to 25 percent of his bone density in that space within 12 months.
That bone loss can affect neighboring teeth as well. If they too come loose then you will continue losing bone mass. Over time, this will affect the security and stability of your teeth, but also the shape of your face.
How Dental Implants Can Help
You can fight to save your teeth by getting a dental implant and a dental crown to replace a single lost tooth.
The dental crown replaces the natural crown of your missing tooth. The dental crown will rest on the dental implant, which replaces the root of your lost tooth.
Modern dental implants are made with titanium because osseointegration is possible with that kind of metal. The implants will press into your jaw, just like your roots once did. This will encourage new tissue growth.
As this happens, your jawbone will bond directly to the dental implant to keep it securely in place.
This won’t replace bone mass than you may have lost already, but it does help you maintain your bone density for decades to come. In other words, a full tooth replacement keeps your jawbone healthy, which reduces your risk for continued tooth loss.
But what if you are missing more than one tooth already? Can dental implants help with that too?
Yes, they can.
In this situation, you may need more than one dental implant to support a dental bridge. A dental bridge is made with dental crowns that have been merged together. The bridge can be bonded to one or more dental implants for greater stability.
This is also better for your jaw than a traditional dental bridge. Those bridges are bonded to the teeth adjacent to the gap in your mouth. Those teeth are reshaped to support the bridge.
With a traditional bride, no implants are needed, but that also means there is nothing underneath the bridge to stimulate your jaw. Over time, this can lead to bone loss as well.
Stop Tooth Loss Before It Gets Out Of Hand
No one wants to lose all of his or her teeth, and we certainly don’t wish that on any of our patients at North Shore Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Dental implants can help you restore your smile and protect the natural teeth that still remain.