Jawbone Preservation: The Key to a Complete Smile
You’ve worn dentures for years now. Although it was an adjustment at first, you’ve grown accustomed to how they feel in your mouth and how you have to eat and talk with dentures. But it’s definitely not the same as when you had natural teeth. You wonder—is this the best tooth replacement gets?
Perhaps you disregarded dental implants before because of the price or the long process involved, but the truth is that dentures alone fail in one essential area: jawbone preservation. In this post, you’ll learn more about why jawbone density matters, how traditional dentures measure up, and which replacement option strengthens the jawbone.
When teeth are removed, it doesn’t just leave a gap on the surface; it also takes away the roots from the jawbone. The roots have two important functions: they help hold the teeth in place and stimulate new jawbone growth. Without stimulation from the roots, the body resorbs the nutrients from the jawbone and sends them elsewhere. Over time, the jawbone can shrink and weaken, potentially leading to additional tooth loss or even bone brittleness.
Jawbone loss can have cosmetic consequences as well. As the jawbone diminishes, the skin starts to sag, making the face appear older and more sunken. The lips may appear thinner, adding to the aged look.
Although normal dentures do replace the crowns of missing teeth, they do not address the root structure at all. This means that your smile may look complete with a denture, but jawbone deterioration is still occurring beneath the surface. Unfortunately, going with dentures doesn’t do anything to stop this process. Your jawbone will continue to decline and change shape. That’s why traditional dentures need to be adjusted frequently and even replaced entirely every five to seven years.
While traditional dentures sit on top of the gums, implants go deeper, replacing the missing tooth roots as well as the crowns. They act like natural teeth and stimulate the jawbone, which envelopes the implants in a process called osseointegration. This is gives the replacement teeth more stability and strength than dentures alone and keeps the jawbone healthy and robust.
As a result, when you get dental implants, you keep your facial structure and don’t need to replacements nearly as often. In fact, dental implants have been known to last for longer than 30 years!
In the end, dentures may seem preferable in the short term, but preserving your jawbone is worth the extra time and money upfront so that you can enjoy a healthier, stronger smile for many more years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Steve Weber has been a practicing dentist at Weber Family Dentistry in Lincoln for about 15 years now. In his continuing education, he has primarily focused on implants, pursuing advanced training at Implant Seminars and the Implant Continuum. He is also a member of the International Dental Implant Association. Want to learn about more benefits of dental implants? You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Weber through his website or by calling 402-417-0642.