Most patients get dental implants soon after tooth loss or extraction. But what if you’ve been living with missing teeth for quite some time? Is implant surgery still an option?
Actually, it’s never too late to restore your smile with dental implants. However, if your tooth loss occurred years ago, your procedure will likely require an extra step to ensure adequate jawbone stability. And, even years after losing teeth, getting implants is in your best interests.
How Tooth Loss Leads to Jawbone Degeneration
The roots of your teeth stimulate bone growth and help the jaw to remain strong and healthy. When a tooth is lost, that stimulation is gone – and the nearby jawbone begins to break down.
As time progresses, so does the jawbone degeneration. Bone loss in the jaw can become a serious issue years after tooth loss, particularly for patients with multiple missing teeth.
How Dental Implants are Possible with Jawbone Degeneration
Tooth implants sit directly in the jawbone, and they need a stable, healthy foundation of support to remain anchored in place. So how can patients with significant bone loss in the jaw still consider tooth implant surgery?
Jawbone degeneration is a simple problem to address. A routine, in-office oral surgery procedure – bone grafting – works to rebuild the tissue for the placement of tooth implants. Getting a graft does mean scheduling an extra appointment, and the jawbone will need some time to heal. But the recovery is typically smooth and easy, and the bone grafting procedure allows for secure, successful implant placement.
How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Oral Health
Given the extra step, you might wonder if getting dental implants is worth the effort. Should you even bother with tooth replacement when you’ve already been living with missing teeth for years?
Absolutely, you should. If you continue to ignore the gaps in your smile, you’ll increase your risks for gingivitis, periodontal disease and additional tooth loss. So, although you may not be experiencing any problems now, your luck may not hold out for long.
Get tooth implants, and you can improve your chances. After implant surgery, keeping the mouth clean is much easier – which means gum disease and decay will be much less likely. And because the replacement teeth fuse to the jawbone, future bone loss in the jaw will no longer be a concern.
At Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we encourage our central Indiana patients to consider tooth replacement as soon as possible after tooth loss – but we also believe later is definitely better than never.
If you have missing teeth, Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly, our highly-experienced, board-certified oral surgeons, can help you explore your options for restoring your smile. Contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today to schedule an appointment to discuss tooth loss and dental implants.