Today’s blog post from Marcos Ortega, DDS, focuses on missing teeth and dental implants.
Our teeth have many important functions. We need them to chew our food, talk, and smile. But have you ever considered their role in holding up your face? When we lose teeth, the bone around the site of the extraction begins to loosen. This, in turn, causes our facial muscles to sink in and collapse.
We sometimes think of bone as a solid mass, unlike the softer tissues in our body. In reality, below the seemingly rock-hard surface, bone tissue is full of small holes, kind of like a sponge. In the interior bone tissue, the bone is constantly regenerating itself. This essential process is sometimes called “bone metabolism.” In the jaw bone, the movement of the teeth stimulates this process of regeneration. When the tooth is gone, the bone starts to shrink as blood flow is reduced.
People with missing teeth not only have an unappealing gap in their smile, they begin to look older because of the bone recession and eventual facial sagging. It is not simply an issue of attractiveness—it poses serious health risks. It may become difficult to chew food, making it harder to get proper nutrition. Mental health can also be influenced when a patient with missing teeth loses confidence or withdraws from social situations because they are self-conscious about their smile.
Dental Implants Can Prevent Bone Recession
Modern dentistry to the rescue! Dental implant technology delivers a tooth restoration solution that preserves healthy bone metabolism while providing near-normal tooth function. For people missing many (or all) of their teeth, it may not be possible to replace every single tooth with a permanent dental implant. In many of these cases, dental implants can be used to provide an anchor for a partial denture.
What if your bone has shrunken so much that there is not enough to support a tooth implant? You may be a candidate for bone augmentation or bone grafting. This procedure is routinely carried out with success.
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