When you lose a tooth, it leads to negative effects beyond the unattractive gap left behind in your smile. A missing tooth can affect your speech and ability to chew because its opposing tooth now becomes useless. Remaining teeth shift, drift and migrate if missing teeth are not replaced, and when the absent tooth’s root is not replaced, the jawbone in the vicinity can begin to recede.
For this reason, dental implants offer a tooth replacement option that is superior to other alternatives like fixed permanent bridges and dentures.
Because a dental implant replicates the entire tooth structure—not merely the visible crown portion—Dr. Steven Koos, your dual-degree Chicago IL implant dentist, can help to protect your jawbone.
In placing dental implants, Dr. Koos is inserting a tooth root-like fixture into your jawbone. The dental implant, which is made of bio-compatible titanium, fuses with the jawbone and functions much like the root of a biological tooth.
A tooth’s root serves as source of stimulus and support that stabilizes the jawbone. When no structure is present to maintain the bone, the jawbone begins to atrophy. Over time, it wears away and other teeth may be at risk for being lost, as well. However, with dental implants, that resorption is halted. The implant continues to secure and stabilize the bone over time.
Jawbone erosion usually progresses most quickly toward the rear of the upper jaw. If you need to replace a tooth in this vicinity, dental implants can be particularly valuable to use immediately after a tooth has been lost.
Similarly, fully edentulous patients have a more significant risk of jawbone resorption. Dental implant-supported dentures are the best choice for these patients.
Because of jawbone erosion, it’s important to have a dental implant placed relatively quickly after the tooth is lost. You will need to have a certain amount of remaining jawbone to fuse with the implant. If too much bone has worn away, you may need to have a preliminary surgery, namely a bone graft, before your implant can be placed.
In addition to the functional benefits of dental implants, these tooth-like devices have aesthetic advantages, and they’re easier to maintain than traditional bridges or dentures. Consider a dental implant if you are missing a tooth, and contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to learn more about the process involved.