When teeth are lost or extracted, the bone that previously supported those teeth no longer serves a purpose and begins to resorb, or deteriorate. For example, when a front tooth is lost and replaced with a tooth-supported bridge, the gums and bone above the false tooth begin to collapse as the bone resorbs, or melts away, leaving the false tooth hanging, or suspended without support. When all of the posterior teeth are missing, the back of the mouth actually collapses as the bone deteriorates. Facial appearance begins to change as the height of the jaw decreases. The teeth in the front of the mouth begin to flare out as the bite collapses and the corners of the mouth droop. And if the posterior teeth are replaced with a partial denture, the bone resorption process is accelerated as the partial presses down on the gums and underlying bone. When all of the teeth are missing, the jaws deteriorate rapidly. In addition, as the bone melts away the muscles migrate, or pull back from their natural position. The lips cave in as they lose support and wrinkles increase dramatically as the facial structures collapse. Dentures accelerate the bone resorption process as they put pressure on the gums and underlying bone. And as facial structures continue to collapse, the dentures must be relined (made thicker) to compensate for additional bone loss.
How can this bone loss be prevented?
Dental implants are substitute tooth roots, providing the same function as natural tooth roots, including stimulating the bone, thereby preserving it and preventing the bone loss that would normally occur with tooth loss. The jawbone actually forms a bond with the dental implants, creating a stable foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.
If you want to know more about bone reabsorption and dental implants, contact our office in Beverly Hills to schedule a consultation with Dr. Anson. Call (310) 657-0999.