Preventing Bone Loss in the Jaw by Replacing Missing Teeth With Dental Implants

A primary reason dentists encourage patients to replace one or more missing teeth with implants is the maintenance of bone density where the implant rod is placed. Patients also will like the convenience of brushing and flossing compared with removing a bridge and cleaning it separately. Implants can be placed at a clinic such as Family Dentistry and Implant Center in Virginia.

The Two Steps in Implant Surgery

Implant surgery usually has two steps. In the first, the dentist cuts into the gum tissue and places an implant rod in the jaw. This looks like a screw or a tiny cylinder. A temporary crown is screwed onto the top. Healing and fusing with the jawbone usually takes at least eight weeks. Some patients wait as long as six months. After that time, a minor cut into the gum tissue is made and an upper rod attached to the lower one, along with a permanent crown.

Missing Teeth and Jawbone Deterioration

Without an implant rod or natural tooth root in that part of the jawbone, the bone begins to gradually deteriorate. It does not receive stimulation from chewing. As the bone is resorbed and the gum tissue begins to recede, the patient may be hesitant to smile, since the flaw is visible around the dental bridge. With implants, healthy bone density is maintained.

Sometimes, a certain amount of bone loss has already occurred in the jawbone because one or more teeth have been missing for a while. The patient might have already been wearing a bridge for a few years or might not have acquired artificial teeth for missing ones toward the back where they aren’t as visible.

Bone Grafting Before Placement of Implants

Bone grafting might be necessary if the density has deteriorated enough. A small amount of bone is removed from elsewhere in the patient’s body, such as the chin, and transferred to the area where the jawbone is weak. This stimulates the bone to produce new, healthy cells and rebuild the area to a stronger level. Then implant rods can be placed and are able to integrate with this denser, stronger bone.

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