No one wants to have a natural tooth removed. However, there is often a misconception when it comes to replacing a tooth. Although you can recreate the presence of a tooth, the absence of tooth roots below the gum line set into motion an often-unfamiliar sequence of events.
When it comes to the importance of teeth in appearance, eating and speaking, adults are pretty much in-the-know. Yet, the role of tooth roots is often a mystery. We all know that each tooth is supported in the jaw bone by ‘prongs,’ that are its roots. These roots are very different than the portions of natural teeth visible above the gum tissues.
Each prong of a tooth root contains a chamber that holds tissues. These tissues are made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective fibers. They not only help to keep the tooth ‘alive,’ they nourish the jaw bone that supports the roots and provide stimulation that helps the bone to maintain its mass.
Without natural tooth roots, the portion of the jaw bone where tooth roots were once held experiences a process known as ‘resorption.’ This term describes the shrinking or declining mass of jaw bone – again, due to the lack of nourishment and stimulation once provided by tooth roots.
Losing bone mass may not be obvious, at first. However, it can result in a number of problems as it continues. A few are:
• Bone loss can cause changes to facial appearance that can be aging far beyond one’s actual years. These include deep wrinkling around the mouth, corners of the mouth turning downward (even in a smile), a mouth that looks collapsed into the face, pointed chin and jowls that form as facial muscles detach.
• Bone loss can lead to difficulty and discomfort for people who wear dentures and partials. As the gum-covered ‘arch’ declines in height, the foundation the denture or partial was designed to contour changes. As it flattens, the appliance is more apt to move, especially while chewing. The pressure of wearing a denture or partial denture actually speeds up the rate of bone loss. For those who sleep in these appliances, the constant rate of pressure accelerates bone loss even more.
• Bone loss creates particular eating challenges for those who wear dentures or partials. Because bone loss results in a change in the way a denture or partial fits, the loose fit can cause these appliances to rub against tender gum tissues. This can lead to sore spots that are difficult and slow to heal. Additionally, small seeds (such as sesame or strawberry seeds) and nut particles can become trapped between the appliance and gums, piercing tender gum tissues.
• Bone loss can occur under a crown-&-bridge combination as easily as under a denture. Since teeth in a bridge do not provide stimulation to the jaw bone, bone loss does occur here as well. This will eventually result in a gap that can be detected between the gums and the bridge.
• As the bone declines in height and width, neighboring teeth become vulnerable to the effects of bone loss as well. For example, when natural teeth border an area of bone resorption, it can mean a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth breaks or fractures. Statistics show that when a tooth is missing, the next one you’re most likely to lose is one adjacent.
Fortunately, bone loss can be halted by the placement of Dental Implants. Just as the natural teeth you once had, they are held by the jaw. Not only does their presence restore stimulation, it provides a stable foundation for biting and chewing without discomfort or fear of embarrassing slips.
Dental Implants are also self-supporting. Because they are held by the jaw bone, they do not rely on crowned, neighboring teeth to support a single tooth or a bridge of two or more teeth. Often, four or six strategically-placed implants can support a full arch of replacement teeth.
Dental Implants are also a wise investment. With proper selection, placement and care, they are designed to last a lifetime. This is value that will ‘give back’ everyday! You’ll be able to chew the foods you love without discomfort or worry, smile and laugh with confidence, and awaken each day with a smile!
When you keep your natural teeth healthy, this means your tooth roots are able to serve the important role they were designed to provide. With Dental Implants, however, losing a natural tooth doesn’t mean you need to suffer the long-term repercussions of bone loss.
Ask about Dental Implants to restore a natural look and feel that helps you to also protect surrounding teeth and bone structure. Call 586-739-2155 to schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation. We’ll discuss the types of implants best suited to your needs as well as treatment costs.
If desired, we can also have our Financial Coordinator meet with you to discuss easy payment options, some that are interest-free with no down payment required.