One of the greatest innovations in modern dentistry is the dental implant. These precision-made titanium metal cylinders are surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace missing teeth. However, this technique also has important health benefits. Bone loss prevention with dental implants is among the most essential to maintaining proper jaw function. Dr. Neil L. Starr performs thousands of complex prosthodontic procedures for his patients in his Washington, D.C., dental office every year. Many of these involve fabricating and inserting implant-supported restorations. Dr. Starr is one of only a few dentists who holds a dual certification in prosthodontics and periodontal prosthetics. Therefore, he clearly understands the importance of preventing dental bone loss in his patients—and he understands how implants can help to accomplish this goal.
Preserving Bone by Replacing Teeth
Bone loss can occur around teeth because of periodontal (gum) disease. Bacterial plaque is a clear, sticky substance that accumulates on the teeth. If it is not regularly removed, it causes an inflammatory response that results in the resorption of the surrounding bone tissue that once supported the teeth. With the advent of dental implants, severely affected teeth can be extracted before all the bone supporting them has deteriorated. Thus, placing the implant provides a fully functional and highly aesthetic prosthetic to replace the affected tooth—and it can maintain bone that would otherwise be lost.
Preserving Bone Where Teeth Have Been Extracted
Another avenue for bone resorption is in areas where teeth have already been extracted. Studies have shown that within as little as six months following tooth extraction, roughly half of the bony ridge height and width resorbs. These nonfunctional empty spaces, which were once occupied by teeth, continue to atrophy over time. This bone loss can result from the pressure exerted by a conventional denture resting on the bone, but it can also occur by itself. The result is a jaw bone that has become so small and weak that it can no longer support any type of prosthesis. This can leave the patient with few good options.
Ideally, implants should be placed in areas that have suffered tooth loss soon after the natural teeth have been extracted. If necessary, the bone surrounding the implants can be augmented by bone grafts to restore any lost bone. The implant-supported false teeth that occupy this space can help to bring the jaw back into dynamic function and prevent it from further atrophy. In addition, the implants create stability by preventing the remaining teeth from drifting out of their proper position. Thus, the placement of implants not only provides patients with high-quality, permanent replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like the original teeth, but it can preserve bone.
Make an Appointment Now
Dr. Starr has the experience, training, and credentials necessary to provide any type of tooth replacement or cosmetic service required. His many happy patients attest to his skill and chairside technique. Those who are interested in brightening their smile are encouraged to give his office a call at (202) 293-7177 or send a message to his team online.