How does tooth loss lead to bone resorption?

missing teeth CharlottesvilleJawbone resorption can be a consequence of tooth loss if the absent tooth’s root is not replaced. This occurs because that root structure holds the bone tissue in place. When the tooth’s root is no longer available for this function, the bone tissue slowly erodes. As the jawbone atrophy progresses, it may affect the attachment of nearby biological teeth.

For this reason, missing teeth can put the remaining teeth at risk if they are not replaced or if they are replaced with a prosthetic that doesn’t include a root-like structure. Dental implants help to prevent this outcome. Dental implants are small titanium cylinders that an oral surgeon inserts in the patient’s jaw at the site of missing teeth. Titanium is biocompatible, so the surrounding bone forms a strong bond with the dental implant. Eventually, the dental implant becomes a permanent part of the patient’s jaw and functions quite similarly to the absent biological tooth’s root.

Because the jawbone’s shape remains constant when dental implants are placed by an oral surgeon, an appliance supported by these devices will retain its fit. In contrast, conventional appliances that lack a root-like structure can lose their fit over time as the shape of the jaw changes due to bone loss.

Jawbone preservation is just one benefit of choosing dental implants for missing teeth. The root-like qualities of dental implants allow these prosthetics to chew a wider variety of foods because they can withstand fairly strong chewing forces.

Dental implants also stand alone without support, which means that surrounding teeth don’t need to be compromised for the tooth replacement. When used to support a single crown, dental implants also allow access to the gumline, which can be restricted by appliances like fixed dental bridges.

Dental implants can prevent the jawbone resorption that typically occurs after tooth loss, along with the other benefits they provide. To learn more about this treatment option and how it can strengthen your smile, schedule a consultation with our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.