In the United States, 70% of people are missing one or more teeth. The gums and jaw bone need the stimulation from chewing that a tooth provides in order to maintain blood flow to the area. Without this, the jaw bone begins to deteriorate, even in the absence of only one tooth.
Dr. Ken Collins, DDS, leading Spokane area cosmetic says,
“The jaw bone plays a huge role in the visual appearance of the face as a whole. When lost teeth are not replaced and the jaw bone experiences loss, facial aging is accelerated so much that it can cause the appearance of over 10 years of aging. These changes occur gradually so they may not be noticed at first. But, significant bone loss occurs in the first year after tooth loss and in two to three years many people experience 40-60% bone loss.”
Some of the changes the face undergoes when loss of jaw bone occurs include shortening of facial height. Those with naturally shorter faces will surprisingly see this change faster due to higher bite forces. The angles around the lips begin to decrease and the ones under the nose increase. This causes an increase in wrinkles and the nose starts to appear larger. As the bone deteriorates the top and bottom teeth settle in closer together which thins the lips and gives the appearance of a scowl when the mouth is in a state of rest. The chin also begins to rotate forward.
Missing teeth also put extreme pressure on remaining teeth. This overload of pressure forces them to move forward and into the empty spaces where the teeth are missing. It can also lead to gum disease and the loosening and loss of more teeth. This creates a domino effect that can lead to extensive time and money spent just trying to maintain a healthy mouth.
Collins believes implants are they key to preventing bone loss and eventual facial transformations.
“A dental implant consists of a titanium post that fits inside the jaw bone just as a tooth’s root would. Then a dental crown is attached to the post in place of the missing tooth. Not only is the gap filled and the cosmetic issue taken care of; the post allows for the jaw bone to be constantly stimulated, which helps prevent any potential bone loss.”
Tooth loss can occur due to trauma related to accidents, tooth decay, gum disease and even genetics. Some people are born missing a tooth or several teeth. Because the shifting of the teeth and the bone loss occur so rapidly, prevention is the best measure.
Sometimes people put off dental procedures due to finances, however, in many cases, the cost is far greater later down the road and some damage cannot be reversed. In the past, treatments have focused on the aesthetics only of replacing a missing tooth. Things like dentures and bridges were and still are used to replace the visible part of the tooth but with these solutions, nothing replaces the root and maintains the space inside the gums and along the bone where the tooth or teeth once resided.
Dental implants allow for a more natural functioning of the mouth as a whole when it comes to chewing, speaking and bone health. Because they are fused to the bone, they help to stabilize and stimulate the structure of the mouth. In terms of longevity, implants have shown great success and often last the lifetime of the patient depending on when they are placed. The success rate depends on the individual but research shows they last longer than traditional tooth replacement methods and improves the function of the teeth as a whole and the psychological health of the patient tremendously.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788