Not every consequence of tooth loss is easily recognizable. You might notice the empty spaces left in your smile, but you can’t see the empty sockets in your jawbone where the tooth’s root used to rest. You also won’t immediately notice the resorption that occurs in your jawbone following the loss of your tooth’s roots, which can take years to affect your facial appearance. Replacing a lost tooth with a dental bridge, one of the more popular dental prostheses today, can restore your smile and ability to bite and chew. Supporting your bridge with a dental implant, however, is the only way to address the underlying effects of losing teeth and their roots.
Spanning the Gap
A dental bridge consists of a replacement tooth (or a couple, if you’ve lost two adjacent teeth) bordered by a dental crown on either side. The crowns are attached to the remaining teeth adjacent to the gap, called abutment teeth, to hold the prosthetic in place. Brides are usually crafted from dental porcelain that’s tinted and layered to closely mimic a natural tooth’s appearance, but isn’t supported as securely as your natural tooth.
From the Ground, Up
Like a bridge mimics the top part of your tooth (called a tooth crown), a dental implant mimics the tooth’s root. Made from biocompatible titanium, the implant is surgically inserted into your jawbone, which fuses to the implant’s surface as it heals. With a connective abutment that protrudes above the gum line, your dental implant can support a dental crown or bridge, depending on how many teeth you’ve lost.
With the support of an embedded root, your replacement tooth will feel and operate more like the real thing, and by replacing your lost tooth root, the implant can help preserve your jawbone’s integrity. Jawbone deterioration occurs when your body resorbs the minerals from the jawbone around an empty root socket, and redirects the minerals that the tooth used to receive to other parts of your body. The diminished supply of nutrients can cause the jawbone to shrink over time, leading to further tooth loss and facial collapse. Dental implants help prevent jawbone resorption and deterioration by restoring the lost root and the stimulation it produces when you bite and chew.
About Your Chicago Dentists:
Though we can rebuild your smile if it’s compromised by cavities or gum disease, preventing such issues with improved dental hygiene can help you avoid the need for complex restorative treatment. Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled general, restorative, and implant dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To schedule an appointment, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.