While you may view tooth loss as an annoyance that can result in difficulty chewing (if the missing tooth is a molar) or a less attractive smile, there are far more severe repercussions of a missing tooth. This is especially true if it is not replaced. Drs. Ben Whiting and Scott Stauffer at Whiting Dental in Mesa, Arizona, view dental implants as the gold standard among tooth replacement options. Let’s look at why that is and how a dental implant is the only tooth replacement option that can save the health of your jawbone.
Every time you bite down on or apply pressure to your teeth, stimulation runs from the crown down into the root. Your tooth’s root, embedded in the jawbone, then stimulates the jawbone. When teeth go missing, this stimulation is lost. Without this stimulation, your jawbone will eventually deteriorate and become reabsorbed by your body. Insufficient jawbone can lead to oral health complications and change your facial appearance.
One of the most significant reasons dentists prefer dental implants over other tooth replacement options is that a dental implant does not only replace the tooth above the gumline but below it as well. Dentures (unless they are implant-supported) and dental bridges simply rest on the gum line, meaning your jawbone will still shrink as time goes on. A dental implant, on the other hand, is implanted directly into the jawbone, replacing the missing tooth’s root. Once your implant surgery is complete, a process called osseointegration takes place.
Osseointegration is the process by which your jawbone and the implant fuse together. This process takes several weeks to complete. Once your jawbone and implant are integrated, it not only creates a firm anchor for your dental implant and its attached prosthetic, but the implant will provide the stimulation that the jawbone requires to stay healthy.
To learn more about dental implants, please schedule an appointment with Drs. Whiting and Stauffer at our Meza, AZ office by calling (480) 870-4400. You may also call our San Tan Valley office at (480) 870-4499.