As adults, we lose teeth for many reasons. Periodontal disease is responsible for 75% of adult tooth loss. However, we may also lose teeth into adulthood due to traumatic injury. After tooth loss, it’s important to replace with an artificial root and crown.
We tend to think of our bone as a very static system. In fact, our skeleton is very dynamic, constantly undergoing breakdown balanced with rebuilding. One of the major stimuli for bone rebuilding are external forces. Just as weight-bearing exercise is important to keep our large bones strong, chewing applies forces to our jaw bone that keeps them strong!
When we lose a tooth, the bone that once supported that tooth no longer experiences the forces applied when we chew our food and the bone begins to resorb (i.e., deteriorate).
If left for long enough periods of time, this bone loss can eventually alter the integrity of your facial structure, changing your appearance. It can also compromise the function and security of the adjacent and opposing teeth (without a tooth to chew against, the opposing tooth will also suddenly lose the chewing forces it was once used to). Ultimately, this may even change your ability to maintain a healthy diet and proper digestion.
In some cases, bone has deteriorated so drastically that Dr. Fritz or Dr. Schuldt may need to use additional bone material during the implant placement procedure to stabilize the implant. Or, your periodontist may even need to perform a preliminary procedure to add bone, allow time for it to calcify and harden, before inserting the dental implant.
The only way to know if you are a good candidate for a dental implant and if you may require additional bone to support an implant is to visit your periodontist for a comprehensive examination. A CBCT, 3D X-ray, is also essential in the planning stages of your dental implant to allow your periodontist to visualize in 3-dimensions your exact anatomy and the quality and quantity of your bone into which the dental implant will be placed.