The most common type of dental implant (endosteal) screws into the jawbone during the initial surgery. You then need to wait several months for the implants to heal and fully integrate with your jawbone. After the healing period, dental implants function in the same way that natural teeth do. But many patients wonder how dental implants might affect their jawbone.
If you are considering dental implants but want to know more about how they affect your jawbone, the following information should help.
Dental implants prevent bone resorption
Tooth loss sets off a process that ultimately leads to bone loss in the jawbone. The act of chewing places pressure on the gums and jawbone. This pressure acts as a signal to the body that tells the body that the jawbone is in full use and so needs its bone in order to provide support for the teeth. However, when you lose a tooth, the pressure of chewing is no longer present.
Your body reacts to the loss of teeth by resorbing the bone that once supported the lost tooth. The loss of bone around a missing tooth can affect your appearance and weaken your jawbone. But if you place a dental implant soon after tooth loss, you can stop the process of bone resorption.
Dental implants strengthen your jawbone and preserve your appearance
Simply inserting dental implants into the jawbone isn't enough for them to do their job effectively. Dental implants also need to integrate with the jawbone. This is why titanium is a good material for dental implants. Titanium is biologically compatible, and over time, as your implants heal, new bone will form around the implant posts. This will stabilize the implants so you can use them after healing.
The growth of new bone will strengthen your jawbone. And new bone growth may also affect your appearance, especially around your front teeth where wrinkles can sometimes form due to bone loss in the jawbone.
Subperiosteal implants are suitable when little bone is available
If you have already lost a lot of bone in an area of your jawbone, then normal dental implants won't be compatible with your jawbone. There simply isn't enough jawbone to support dental implants. In this case, you can opt for subperiosteal implants, which sit on the jawbone, below the gum tissue, rather than insert into the jawbone.
In general, dental implants have a positive effect on the jawbone. If you'd like to know more about how dental implants work, contact a periodontist or prosthodontist near you.