Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are topped with a cap, crown, or denture in order to replace missing teeth. The implants are permanent, low maintenance, and look and act just like natural teeth. One of the added benefits of dental implants is that they can stop atrophy of the jawbone.
Jawbone atrophy occurs when teeth are lost. Without the roots of the teeth to stimulate the jawbone, the structure stops regenerating and begins to atrophy. This can result in further tooth loss, as well as an alteration of the physical structure of the jaw. The appearance of the face may change when there is no tooth root to serve as an anchor for the jaw.
A dental implant consists of a rod that is inserted into the gum tissue. It acts as a tooth root, stimulating and eventually fusing with the jawbone. The anchored implant stimulates the jawbone tissue to continue regenerating, preventing atrophy and the associated tooth loss and change in facial appearance.
While many candidates for dental implants have healthy jawbone tissue, patients who have already experienced bone loss can still be eligible for the procedure. Bone loss is common among patients who have lost multiple teeth, and among denture users (since dentures do not stimulate the jawbone). Patients with existing bone loss will need to consult a periodontist to discuss their options for increasing bone support.
While one implant is usually installed for each lost tooth, it is possible to anchor full dentures with two to four implants. As the patient chews with his or her dentures, the dentures put pressure on the implants, stimulating the jawbone just like a normal tooth. This allows patients with dentures to prevent jawbone atrophy and to chew more effectively.
If you have lost teeth and want to restore your appearance or prevent bone loss in the jaw, consult our experienced team at Periodontics of Niles, serving Des Plaines IL and the neighboring areas, to see if you are a good candidate for dental implants.