Did you know that your teeth do more than just chew food? A full set of pearly whites is essential for maintaining good oral health; when one is missing, it can easily lead to complications that can affect your health, your appearance, and your confidence. Learn more about how a missing tooth can affect your jaw – and why implants from your dentist in Houston can help keep your smile strong.
What Happens When a Tooth is Missing?
The material that makes up your jawbone stays strong thanks to the pressure and stimuli it receives during chewing. It’s much like how your muscles remain healthy through regular use. When a tooth is missing, whether due to being knocked out or extracted, the bone in that area no longer receives the necessary stimulation and begins to break down.
Bone loss in the jaw can cause the remaining teeth to drift, become misaligned, or loosen; it may even lead to additional tooth loss. Furthermore, as the jaw loses its shape, your facial profile will collapse, and the skin around your mouth will begin to wrinkle, creating a more aged appearance. Other consequences could include difficulties while speaking or chewing.
How Can Bone Loss from Missing Teeth Be Prevented?
While traditional replacements for teeth such as dentures can restore functionality to the mouth, they don’t have any effect on the jawbone and thus can’t prevent the consequences of bone loss. In order to maintain jaw health, many dentists recommend dental implants.
A dental implant is a metal post surgically placed in the jawbone and topped with a prosthetic tooth or multiple prosthetic teeth. This post is fused with the bone through a natural process called osseointegration; this will allow the jaw to continue receiving the stimulation it needs. Additionally, since the implant is firmly in place, it provides chewing power almost equal to that of natural teeth, allowing you to continue eating your favorite foods.
An implant can be topped with an all-ceramic crown to replace a single tooth. When a row of teeth is missing, implants can be used to support a bridge. They can even be used to anchor dentures; in addition to the health benefits, dentures that are retained by implants are not prone to slipping.
Are Dental Implants Right for Me?
Not all patients are a good candidate for implants. In some cases, bone loss has already progressed too far for osseointegration to properly occur; patients with osteoporosis or oral infections may also experience complications.
If you lose a tooth, you’ll need to schedule an appointment right away. Ask your dentist about the options available and figure out what will work best in your situation. Make sure to ask about dental implants in Houston – when it comes to keeping your jaw healthy, they just might be the best solution.
About the Author
Dr. John Krell is a graduate of the University of Houston and went to dental school at the University of Texas. His philosophy is to combine conservative methodologies with advanced technology. For missing teeth, he offers dental implants that can support crowns, bridges, and dentures. To schedule an appointment, visit his practice’s website or call (713) 877-1775.