If you have a missing tooth, a dental implant can effectively replace it. The implant looks, feels, and functions like your natural teeth. Compared to dentures and dental bridges, dental implants are sturdier, longer-lasting, and stronger. In fact, they are the only tooth replacement solution that replaces your entire tooth structure. A family dentist in Upland, CA will usually recommend an implant to a patient who is looking for a permanent tooth replacement option. 

The dental implant procedure involves the surgical insertion of a titanium post into the jaw. Because of this, you need to have an adequate jawbone to support an implant. However, jawbone loss is quite common in those who have not replaced their missing teeth and those who are using other tooth replacement solutions. So, how does jawbone loss occur?

Missing Teeth

The jawbone and teeth cannot function without the other. The jawbone anchors your teeth in place and offers the needed stability to chew and bite. In turn, the pressure from chewing and biting stimulates your jawbone. This reinforces the bone and keeps it strong and healthy. 

If you lose a tooth, your jawbone won’t get the stimulation from chewing and biting. Eventually, your body starts to reabsorb the minerals in your bone cells and distribute them to other parts of your body that need them. This leads to your jawbone shrinking. 

Gum Disease

Initially, gingivitis will lead to gum inflammation, bleeding, and tenderness. However, you can reverse these conditions with proper dental care. when left not treated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, which involves a gum line infection. You can stop this problem with proper care, but not reverse it. Periodontitis can lead to gum recession, damaged ligaments, bad breath, and bone loss. Having periodontal disease won’t make you a good candidate for dental implants.

Tooth Infection

Dental infection usually leads to significant pain, which causes you to seek immediate treatment. However, some of these infections do not have symptoms and can go unnoticed. But even if you do not experience pain, a dental infection will do damage because the bacteria inside your tooth root create inflammatory toxins that can reach your jawbone. this results in jawbone shrinkage and reduced blood flow to this area. 

Cysts and Tumors

Abnormalities such as cysts and tumors can impact the health of your jawbone. Various kinds of growths like cysts filled with fluids and tumors can lead to jawbone loss. 

Jawbone loss can go unnoticed for a while until you have loose teeth. That is why you should visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Your dentist can detect signs of dental issues early through X-rays.