When you lose a tooth, it obviously affects your smile. However, your appearance is not the only thing that suffers; the loss of just one tooth can lead to a significantly diminished jawbone. In turn, this can lead to more tooth loss, which further compromises your jaw. It is a vicious cycle. Fortunately, dental implants from your Mansfield, TX dentists not only replace your missing teeth; they also protect and heal your bone.
Why Does Your Jawbone Shrink?
Your jawbone is constantly losing minerals and cells. You may be surprised to learn that the act of chewing actually keeps your jawbone strong and healthy. Each time your teeth touch, the dental roots send tiny signals to the periodontal ligament. These signals stimulate the production of new jawbone cells. However, when you lose a tooth, these signals decrease, and your body cannot replace the lost cells and minerals. In effect, your jawbone is like a muscle. When a muscle is used frequently, it remains strong and healthy, but if you are bedridden or break a bone, the muscle atrophies quickly. The same is true for your jaw. When all your teeth are present, your bone receives constant signals to regenerate. However, when a tooth is missing, your jaw begins to shrink almost immediately. The process progresses rapidly, affecting both the width and height of the jawbone. In fact, when you are missing just one tooth, your bone can shrink by up to 25% in width during the first year alone. Overtime, this process can affect the skeletal structure as well, especially the lower back jaw.
How Do Implants Help?
Implants replace the dental root, as well as the tooth itself. Your dentist will place a titanium post in your gum, and as the tissue heals, this post takes on the characteristics of a natural tooth root. In addition to firmly anchoring the new tooth in your mouth, it is also able to send the necessary regenerative signals to the periodontal ligament. Implants are the only restorative dental treatment that can prevent further jawbone shrinkage. In some cases, implants can even restore volume to compromised bone.
About Mansfield Dental Associates
At Mansfield Dental Associates, Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris share the same vision and philosophy when it comes to patient care. We provide thorough, compassionate restorative dental care, including highly lifelike dental implants and implant-supported dentures. Contact our Mansfield, TX dentist office at 817-473-6227 to schedule your next appointment.