Losing multiple teeth can lead to a wide variety of issues. Obviously, your ability to speak and chew will be limited, but you may be surprised to learn that your jaw will start to lose some of its bone density. Dentures give you an efficient, affordable way to fill in the space in your smile, but do they address all the consequences of missing teeth? Here’s what you need to know about dentures and jawbone preservation.
Why Does Bone Loss Occur When Teeth are Missing?
First, it’s necessary to explore why bone loss happens in the first place. Normally, the roots of your teeth stimulate the jawbone whenever you bite and chew, encouraging it to stay strong and healthy. But when your teeth are lost or removed, the jaw will no longer receive this stimulation. As a result, the body will start to resorb the parts of the bone that are no longer being used. Over time, the jawbone will shrink, resulting in sunken cheeks and other changes that can age your appearance.
Do Dentures Help Prevent Bone Loss?
As far as traditional dentures are concerned, the answer is no. Full dentures sit on the gums and rely on natural suction to stay in place while partial dentures are secured to your remaining teeth via metal clasps. In either case, the roots of your missing teeth are not replaced, so the jaw still won’t receive the stimulation needed to prevent bone loss. That said, it’s a different story if your dentures are anchored to dental implants.
How Can Dental Implants Keep Your Jaw Healthy?
Dental implants are surgically inserted into your jawbone so that they can act as new tooth roots. They fuse with the surrounding bone thanks to a process called osseointegration, so they effectively become part of your body. Both full and partial dentures can be placed on multiple dental implants placed strategically throughout your jaw.
Dental implants can provide the same kind of stimulation as your natural teeth, making them the only tooth replacement option that can directly prevent bone loss. They also offer many other advantages that traditional dentures don’t. For example, implants can restore up to 90% of your chewing power, which is more than enough to handle virtually any meal. You’ll be able to eat whatever you want, including tough-to-chew foods like steak.
When it comes to choosing between dentures or implants, only the latter can be used to prevent bone loss in your jaw. Of course, not everybody is a candidate for dental implants, so you’ll need to talk to your dentist to see which tooth replacement method is truly best for you. The most important thing is to choose a treatment that will let you enjoy a confident and healthy smile again.
About the Author
Dr. Matthew McKissock earned his Doctorate from the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry. In 2008, he completed a one-year Maxi-course for implant training from New York University. Today at Windermere Dentistry, he is proud to be able to offer both traditional dentures and dental implants as possible solutions for missing teeth. If you’d like to schedule an implant consultation with Dr. McKissock, visit his website or call (407) 909-1099.