When you’re missing teeth, your ability to eat certain foods or smile are not the only concerns you should worry about. According to an article endorsed by the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, bone width exhibits a 25 percent decrease in just the first year after tooth extraction. In the next few years, bone width can reduce as much as 4 millimeters in that time.
While that may not sound like a lot, millimeters add up quickly when it comes to teeth. Keep reading to learn why it’s worth it to replace your missing tooth in Estero today!
How Do Teeth Stimulate Bone?
When we talk about teeth, it’s important that we talk about the entire overall tooth structure, which includes the root. The root serves many functions, including blood flow and bone stimulation, two functions that dramatically diminish as soon as a tooth is extracted.
But what does that have to do with bone loss? Tooth roots work to stimulate alveolar bone, a sac-like organic material which surrounds the roots of all teeth. Along with the root, this bone is responsible for keeping teeth in place and providing a strong foundation for everyday use.
Furthermore, the alveolar bone is regularly being stimulated by chewing, grinding and other necessary functions transmitted through teeth. When teeth are lost, this stimulation ends, effectively allowing the alveolar bone to shrink. This eventually causes the basal bone (also known as the jawbone) to begin shrinking as well, resulting in catastrophic effects on your oral functions.
What Happens After a Tooth is Extracted?
The process of bone resorption, which in essence is the breakdown of essential bone tissue, begins the moment a tooth is extracted. This is the case whether a dentist removes it due to extensive decay or after forced trauma to the tooth. Over time, bone width shrinks in width and height until all that’s left is gum tissue, which also begins to diminish. After enough time, individuals with tooth loss experience:
- More difficulty chewing and speaking
- Serious aesthetic problems, such as a hollowing of the cheeks
- An uneven and impaired bite, resulting in increased risk of teeth grinding and enamel erosion
- A collapse in the overall facial structure
- A weaker jawbone overall
How Can I Prevent Bone Loss?
In the past, dentists and researchers had no answer for true tooth replacement. Dentures and bridges only addressed the crown portion, not the bone and gum tissue underneath, meaning bone would resorb and the jaw would shrink regardless. But now, dentists can place dental implants, which act as a two-step, long-term solution to tooth loss.
Dental implants replace the roots of teeth as well as the crown, therefore solving the underlying consequences of tooth loss and not just improving your smile’s appearance. They stimulate bone, which prevents shrinking of the jaw and replicates the same chewing and grinding functions of natural teeth. They fuse naturally to organic material, have 10-year success rates as high as 98 percent on average, and don’t require any special maintenance to keep healthy.
If you’re trying to find the best solution to tooth loss to date, schedule an appointment to learn more about dental implants in Estero today!
About the Author
Dr. Rich Gilbert earned his DMD degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. He holds a Fellowship in Implant Dentistry and is fully capable of planning, placing and restoring teeth entirely at his office. To learn more, you can contact him through his website.