There’s a reason why dental implants are often the go-to option for patients who are facing life with missing teeth. Not only will you be able to eat and speak normally again, but the implants will prevent bone loss in your jaw. Additionally, it’s a treatment you can rely on; the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness has found that implant surgery has a success rate well over 95%! Despite these facts, however, no procedure is perfect. Bone loss can still occur even after implants have been placed, and it could put you at risk of losing your new teeth.
What is Bone Loss?
The term “bone loss” refers to where a bone in your body has started to break down. When it comes to the jaw, this condition is often the result of lost teeth. When you bite or chew, the jawbone receives stimulation that keeps it healthy and strong; when a tooth is gone, the “unused” portion of the bone starts to shrink.
Over time, bone loss can cause the other teeth to become misaligned. This can create serious painful bite issues and, eventually, may even lead to additional tooth loss. Also, the loss of support for the lips creates wrinkles and can make you look older.
How Can Bone Loss Happen Around a Dental Implant?
One of the advantages of dental implants is that they provide stimulation to the jawbone the way that natural teeth normally do, thus preventing bone loss from happening (a benefit that dentures and dental bridges simply don’t have). Unfortunately, that doesn’t completely eliminate the risk. The bone around an implant can still deteriorate for the following reasons:
- Gum Disease and Other Infections: Advanced gum disease and other forms of infection will attack the bone under the gum line and cause it to break down. Such conditions are often the result of poor oral hygiene.
- Physical Injury: A jaw fracture around the implant site or a dental implant that has been knocked loose can stop the bone from getting the stimulation it needs.
- Failed Osseointegration: Normally the implant is meant to naturally fuse with the jawbone, but if this process fails for any reason, the area around the implant will start to deteriorate instead.
Unfortunately, bone loss can be hard to detect at first, but if you notice signs that your implant has become loose (which obviously include the implant wiggling in place or coming out altogether), you should contact your dentist in Newbury Park as soon as possible.
How Can Bone Loss Be Treated?
If there’s an infection that’s causing the bone loss, it can sometimes be treated with antibiotics; in other cases the area will need to be thoroughly cleaned with dental instruments. Afterwards, bone grafts can help the jaw regain the density it needs to support dental implants.
It’s important to have these treatments performed quickly. The earlier these health issues are addressed, the better chance you’ll have of saving your implants, letting you enjoy them for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Gary Chaffe has been practicing dentistry for over 40 years and believes everyone should be able to enjoy beautiful, healthy smiles. That’s why he offers high-quality dental implants as an option for replacing missing teeth. Dentures and dental bridges are also available. To schedule an appointment at his practice, Paraiso Family Dental and Orthodontics, visit his website or call (805) 480-0033.