Dental implants are a highly effective, permanent solution to tooth loss. Implants provide distinct advantages over dentures or bridges. Among these advantages is the fact that implants help prevent jawbone atrophy. They are the only form of tooth replacement that provides this long-term benefit.
How Do Implants Keep My Jawbone Healthy?
When you have your natural teeth, the roots rest in the jawbone. When you chew, the roots shift very slightly. This slight movement stimulates the bone to regenerate to support the teeth. Without teeth, your body will automatically reabsorb the bone tissue. It realizes there are no teeth to support, and so uses the minerals it would otherwise use to keep the jawbone healthy to perform other functions in the body. As a result, the mass of the bone in the jaw shrinks over time. This eventually produces a shrunken look in the face—the traditional “shrunken” look often seen in elderly people.
Implants, unlike other tooth replacement options, have an artificial root. This root is made of titanium or a titanium alloy. The jawbone automatically bonds with titanium, creating a relationship between the bone and the artificial root that is very similar to the original relationship between the bone and the natural root. The root, once the bone has properly bonded, will help stimulate regeneration, preventing long-term atrophy.
What is the Implant Procedure Like?
Your dental implant procedure will be performed by our oral surgeons. If you already have experienced some bone loss, you might begin with bone grafts or, for the upper jaw, a sinus lift. This helps increase the available bone tissue, providing a solid foundation for your implants.
After any grafts or other surgery have healed, the implants are set into place. They will also require a healing interval to ensure the bone bonds to them properly. Without a solid bond between the jawbone and the implant, your implants are much more likely to fail. After a successful healing interval, though, prosthetic teeth or a permanent denture can be added to the implants, giving you a new, perfect smile.
Call Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery today to discuss your own implant options with our team.