Missing teeth causes more than just embarrassment

When most folks hear the words, “bone loss,” they often get think of elderly people with osteoporosis. But when it comes to the mouth, it might surprise you to know that bone loss most often occurs whenever a person loses a permanent tooth.

No matter if it’s because of an accident, an infection or damage, when a person loses a tooth – even if it’s one that doesn’t affect the look of their smile – it’s a serious issue.

The jaw bone that holds teeth tightly in place needs the constant stimulation of teeth hitting together to keep it regenerating itself. When one tooth is missing, the bone in that area does not receive the proper stimulation from the tooth root that was once there. Without that, the bone stops growing, and slowly begins to wear away. In the first year after a tooth loss, there is a 25 percent decrease in width of bone and the bone will slowly melt away in height over the next few years. Additionally, because there is nothing to come in contact with, the opposing tooth from the one that’s missing will also begin to become loose and the bone loss cycle continues.

If left untreated, bone loss due to the missing teeth will begin to affect the person’s appearance. Without the proper bone support, the distance from the nose to the chin actually decreases and the lower part of the face collapses. This is why people with many missing teeth have a “sunken” look and often can appear unhappy when their mouths are at rest, simply because their lips and cheeks have sagged without the support of teeth and gum tissues.

While dentures, partials and bridges can provide the appearance of having teeth in places where teeth are missing, they are no means the best option. Dental implants are the closest option available today when it comes to replacing an individual’s natural teeth.

If a patient hasn’t waited too long after losing a tooth and there is enough bone present, a dental implant can integrate into the bone and stimulate it just as a natural tooth would. We have seen many patients who could have avoided dentures and partials all together, if they would have chosen to replace their missing tooth with a single implant.

 If you’re wondering if dental implants would be right for you, call our office today and let us give you a healthy smile you can be proud of.