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How Does the Jawbone Affect the Ability to Get Dental Implants?

Posted by Dr. Christine Y. Lee on Apr 12 2019, 03:05 AM

Dental implants are a great treatment option for patients who have lost one or more teeth. It is a solution that preserves your oral health, restores confidence and provides a youthful appearance. Many people who lose a tooth are great candidates for dental implants. This process involves placing an implant post on the lower or upper jawbone.

However, patients need to have adequate amounts of healthy jawbone tissue to be eligible for the procedure. When a person has had dental issues like periodontal disease, they might not have enough healthy bone tissue for dental implants.

How your jawbone can lose its density

For many adults, the leading cause of tooth loss is severe periodontal disease, which works to destroy the gums. The disease also destroys the jawbone structure, which is responsible for holding teeth roots in place. Once the jawbone is weak, it becomes easier for teeth to become loose. Even after getting treatment for periodontal disease, your jawbone would not receive adequate stimulation since some teeth are missing. This, in turn, leads to further bone tissue loss.

Let us look at some common causes of jawbone deterioration:

1. Tooth extractions

If a tooth is extracted and not replaced with a prosthetic, jawbone tissue loss often occurs. A tooth’s natural roots stimulate the jaw when pressure is applied to the tooth, and that keeps the soft tissue around it healthy. The alveolar bone, the part of the jawbone that holds the teeth in position, will not receive the appropriate stimulation. The net effect will be the breaking down of the jawbone.

2. Damaged teeth

If a tooth is broken by trauma and the biting surface comes off, proper bone stimulation will stop. This happens since the tooth is no longer being used to bite down on food. Some of the common causes of trauma include jaw fractures, having your teeth knocked out after an accident or an injury from a blow.

3. Misaligned teeth

Misaligned teeth can lead to a situation where there is no opposing tooth structure for some teeth. This can lead to areas in the jaw not being properly stimulated since the teeth do not make contact with one another.

Why healthy jawbone tissue is important for dental implants

Dental implants help to stop the jawbone deterioration that occurs as a result of missing teeth roots. A healthy jawbone is needed to secure implants, so a dentist might recommend bone grafts for patients who do not have the necessary amount of bone tissue.

Jawbone grafting is the surgical process of adding biocompatible bone structure to the jawbone. Once the procedure is complete, the jawbone should be strong enough to support the implants. You will need to wait until your jaw has fully healed from the graft before proceeding with implant installation. This can take up to four months.

Are you a good candidate for dental implants?

Stop by our Santa Clara office to find out more about the health of your jawbone and see if you qualify for dental implants.

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