Tooth loss is a common problem among older adults. Many individuals choose to get dentures to recomplete their smile. Certainly, dentures can look beautiful and restore a measure of chewing power. However, they have some downsides. For example, they might affect the health of your jawbone. This blog post explains the relationship between dentures and bone loss. It also provides information on how you can keep your jaw healthy and strong.
Tooth Loss, Bone Loss, and Dentures
The “use it or lose it” principle applies to most parts of the human body, including the jawbone. After a person’s natural teeth are extracted, the jawbone loses some of the stimulation that it previously enjoyed. Therefore, a process known as resorption begins. Essentially, the body starts to recycle the raw bone material for other purposes. Resorption tends to be quite rapid in the first year after tooth extractions.
Sadly, dentures do not preserve the jawbone. In fact, some research indicates that traditional dentures can actually accelerate bone loss. Eventually, the changes to the bone can become so dramatic that the dentures no longer fit well. It becomes necessary for the patient to purchase an entirely new prosthetic.
Can Jawbone Deterioration Be Prevented?
The above information might seem a little disheartening, but there is good news! Although traditional dentures are not ideal for bone health, there is another form of tooth replacement that can help to keep your jaw strong and whole: dental implants.
Dental implants are small titanium cylinders, or posts, that get surgically placed into the jawbone. They bond with the surrounding tissue and provide a sturdy base for dentures. Because dental implants replace the roots of lost teeth, they provide plenty of stimulation to the jaw. If you take good care of your mouth, there is a good chance that dental implants can keep your jawbone strong and complete for many, many years.
What to Expect with Dental Implants
Dental implants are suitable for almost anyone who has lost one or more of their natural teeth. However, if you have already lost some bone mass in your jaw, you might not be able to get them right away. You might need to undergo a bone graft. The graft will prepare your jaw to provide a proper base of support for the implants.
The dental implant process can be lengthy; it may take several months or longer. However, the jawbone health benefits they provide are just one reason why they are a worthwhile investment of time and money. They can give you strong chewing power, last much longer than traditional dentures, and feel extremely comfortable in the mouth.
Your jawbone is a precious part of your smile! If your circumstances allow, you should upgrade from traditional dentures to implant-supported tooth replacement.
Meet the Practice
Dr. David M. Fisher has more than 20 years of experience as a general dentist. He is proud to offer traditional dentures, implant dentures, and a wide range of other treatments. If you are interested in talking about your tooth replacement options, Dr. Fisher and our team are ready to answer all of your questions. Get in touch with our Greensboro office at 336-288-1242.