By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

February 02, 2023

How Dental Implants Help with Jawbone Health: An Ultimate Guide on How Dental Implants Restore Oral Health

Maintaining jawbone health is crucial for overall dental health. The jawbone provides a foundation for teeth and plays a vital role in supporting facial structures. Unfortunately, losing a tooth due to extraction, injury, or tooth decay can become more than just an uncomfortable sight. Your jawbone might also suffer!

Losing teeth cause the jawbone to deteriorate. This can cause several issues, such as changes in facial appearance and difficulty speaking and eating. This is where dental implants come in.

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots surgically placed into the jawbone to support replacement teeth or bridges. They are a popular and effective way to restore missing teeth, but their benefits go beyond just improving your smile.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore how dental implants help with jawbone health and the benefits patients receive by choosing them for their teeth replacement needs. We will look into the different aspects of this advanced procedure in detail—giving you everything you need to decide what’s right for you.

Keep reading to learn more!

Summary of the Content

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots surgically placed into the jawbone to support replacement teeth or bridges.

Dental implants help prevent bone loss, improve oral health, and preserve natural facial structure.

Losing teeth cause the jawbone to deteriorate. Dental implants mimic natural tooth roots and provide stimulation to maintain the jawbone structure.

Dental implants are made of biocompatible materials and provide a long-lasting solution for those who have lost one or more teeth.

The dental implant process usually involves several steps: consultation, surgery, and recovery.

Proper aftercare is needed to promote healing and prevent complications.

Dental implant surgery is generally safe and causes only mild discomfort during and after surgery.

What Happens to Jawbone After Tooth Loss?

After tooth loss, the jawbone can undergo a process called bone resorption, which is the gradual loss of bone tissue. This occurs because the jawbone is no longer being stimulated by the tooth root, which would normally transmit forces to the bone during chewing or biting.

When there is no tooth present, the body senses that the bone is no longer needed to support a tooth, so it starts to resorb or break down the bone tissue. Over time, this can cause the jawbone to shrink in size and change shape, which can affect the fit of dentures or other dental restorations. Additionally, bone resorption can affect adjacent teeth, causing them to shift or become loose. It can also affect the appearance of the face, causing a sunken or aged appearance.

To prevent or minimise bone resorption, it is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible with dental implants or other dental restorations. Dental implants are placed into the jawbone and function like tooth roots, providing the necessary stimulation to prevent bone resorption.

How Can Dental Implants Improve Bone Health?

Dental implants mimic the function of natural tooth roots and provide the necessary stimulation to keep the jawbone healthy and strong. This is how dental implants help with jawbone health.

The dental implant fuses with the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration. This promotes the regeneration and growth of new bone tissue. This can help prevent further bone loss and even stimulate new bone growth, leading to a healthier, stronger jawbone.

The benefits of dental implants on bone health and other oral functions are numerous. They can:

  • Improve chewing ability, bite, and speech
  • Promote overall comfort
  • Prevent further bone loss
  • Preserve natural facial structure

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Dental implants are an effective solution for replacing missing teeth. They work by creating a strong and stable foundation for replacement teeth using biocompatible materials, such as titanium. During the implant procedure, the implant is surgically embedded into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over several months.

Once the implant has fully integrated with the jawbone, an abutment is attached to the implant, serving as a connector between the implant and the replacement tooth. The prosthetic tooth or teeth, which can be a dental crown, bridge, or denture, are then customised to fit the patient’s mouth and attached to the abutment.

Not only do dental implants provide a natural-looking and functional replacement for missing teeth, but they also have a long lifespan when properly cared for. They offer a lasting solution for those who have lost one or more teeth, helping to restore their smile and improve their overall oral health.

What is the Dental Implant Process?

The dental implant process involves several steps.

  1. The first step is an initial consultation with a dentist. They will evaluate the patient’s oral health and determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure. The dentist may also take x-rays or perform other imaging tests to assess the condition of the patient’s teeth and jawbone.

  2. If the patient is a good candidate for dental implants, the next step is placing the implant into the jawbone. This is done under local anesthesia and can take several hours, depending on the number of implants needed. After the surgery, the patient may experience some discomfort, swelling, and bleeding.

  3. Over the next several months, the dental implant will fuse with the jawbone. The patient may be fitted with a temporary replacement tooth during this time.

  4. Once the implant has fully integrated with the jawbone, the dentist will attach an abutment to the implant. This connects the implant to the replacement tooth.

  5. Finally, a customised replacement tooth is attached to the abutment. This completes the dental implant process.

After the dental implant surgery, the patient must follow proper aftercare instructions. This helps promote healing and prevent complications. This may include:

  • Avoiding certain foods
  • Taking antibiotics or pain medication as prescribed
  • Practising good oral hygiene
  • Attending follow-up appointments with the dentist

With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last for many years. They provide a long-lasting solution for those who have lost one or more teeth.

Are Dental Implants Painful?

During the actual dental implant surgery, patients usually do not feel pain due to the use of local anesthesia. However, some patients may experience minor discomfort and pressure during the procedure.

After the surgery, patients may experience some pain or discomfort, but this can be easily managed with pain medication and proper care, such as avoiding hard or crunchy foods and practising good oral hygiene. The level of discomfort can vary depending on the individual’s pain tolerance and the extent of the procedure. It’s important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by the dental professional to ensure proper healing and minimise any discomfort.

In general, dental implant surgery is a well-tolerated procedure with a high success rate and can provide a long-lasting solution for missing teeth.

Dental Implant Complications

While dental implants are generally considered safe and effective, like any surgical procedure, there are potential complications that can occur. Some of the potential complications associated with dental implants include:

  • Infection:
    Infection is a common complication after dental implant surgery. It can occur if bacteria enter the implant site during or after the procedure. Symptoms of infection may include swelling, pain, and discharge from the implant site.

  • Implant failure:
    In rare cases, dental implants may fail to integrate with the surrounding bone. They may also become loose over time. Implant failure can occur due to various factors. Examples are poor oral hygiene, smoking, and certain medical conditions.

  • Nerve damage:
    Nerve damage is a rare but serious complication that can occur during dental implant surgery. It can result in numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or other parts of the face.

  • Sinus problems:
    Implants placed in the upper jaw can sometimes protrude into the sinus cavity, causing sinus issues or infection.

  • Peri-implantitis:
    This is a type of gum disease that can occur around the implant, leading to bone loss and implant failure.

  • Allergic reactions:
    In rare cases, patients may have an allergic reaction to the materials used in the implant.

  • Improper placement: Improper placement of the implant can lead to aesthetic issues, problems with bite alignment, and other functional issues.

To prevent and address these complications, there are several steps that patients can take:

  • Choose a skilled and experienced dentist with a track record of success.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush and floss regularly and use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption. These habits can increase the risk of complications.
  • Follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions carefully. Take any prescribed medications and attend all follow-up appointments.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if you experience any unusual symptoms. These include severe pain, swelling, or discharge from the implant site.

By taking these precautions and following your dentist’s guidance, you can minimise your risk of complications. Dental implants allow you to enjoy the benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants are designed to be a long-lasting solution for missing teeth. With proper care, they can last for many years, even a lifetime.

Studies have shown that the success rate for dental implants is about 90-95%. Most patients can expect their implants to last at least 25 years, if not longer.

The lifespan of dental implants depends on several factors, including:

  1. Oral hygiene:
    Good oral hygiene is essential to the longevity of dental implants. Brush and floss regularly, and use an antibacterial mouthwash. These can help prevent infection and keep the gums and teeth healthy.

  2. Bone density:
    Patients with good bone density are more likely to have successful dental implants than those with low bone density.

  3. Maintenance:
    Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help detect any issues with the implants early on. This allows for prompt treatment.

  4. Smoking:
    Smoking reduces blood flow to the gums. It also interferes with the healing process causing implant failure.

  5. Overall health:
    Patients with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, are at a higher risk for implant failure.

Dental implants have a high success rate and can last for many years or even a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. It’s important to follow the advice of your dental professional and maintain good oral hygiene to maximise the lifespan of your dental implants.

Dental Implants vs. Traditional Tooth Replacement Methods

Dental implants and traditional tooth replacement methods, such as bridges and dentures, are options for restoring missing teeth. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • They provide a durable replacement for missing teeth that lasts many years.
  • They look and feel like natural teeth.
  • They do not require special cleaning or maintenance beyond regular oral hygiene practices.
  • Implants stimulate the jawbone. They help prevent bone loss and facial sagging by maintaining facial structure.
  • Unlike bridges, implants do not require the trimming of healthy teeth for support.

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

  • The procedure for placing dental implants can be more complex and time-consuming than traditional tooth replacement methods.
  • Implants are more expensive than bridges or dentures.
  • Patients must have enough healthy bone to support the implant. This may require additional surgical procedures such as bone grafting and sinus lifts.

Advantages of Traditional Tooth Replacement Methods

  • Traditional tooth replacement methods are often less expensive than dental implants.
  • Bridges and dentures can be placed more quickly. They are less invasive procedures than dental implants.
  • These methods can be effective for patients who do not have enough healthy bone to support implants.

Disadvantages of Traditional Tooth Replacement Methods

  • Dental bridges and dentures are not as durable as dental implants. They may need to be replaced more frequently.
  • They may not look or feel as natural as dental implants. They may require additional maintenance and care.
  • Bridges and dentures do not stimulate the jawbone, which can lead to bone loss over time.

Here is a comparison table between dental implants, bridges, and dentures:

Criteria

Dental Implants

Bridges

Dentures

Cost

$5,000-$7,000 per implant

$9,000-$12,000

$15,000-$18,000

Longevity

Long-lasting, can last a lifetime with proper care

5-15 years, may need to be replaced

5-7 years, may need to be replaced

Comfort

Comfortable, feels and functions like natural teeth

May cause discomfort and irritation, may affect speech and eating

May cause discomfort and irritation, may affect speech and eating

Process of Making

Requires multiple visits, surgery, and a long healing time

Requires multiple visits, less invasive than implants

Requires multiple visits, less invasive than implants

These factors can vary based on individual circumstances, such as:

  • Number of missing teeth
  • The quality of the surrounding bone and gum tissue
  • The patient’s overall health
  • The location of the dental clinic

Consult a dental professional to determine the right treatment option for your needs.

Cost of Dental Implants

Dental implants can be a necessary yet costly dental procedure. The cost of dental implants varies greatly depending on several factors, including:

  • The number of implants needed
  • The type of implant
  • The individual needs of the patient

Here are some estimated ranges for different types of dental implant treatments:

  • Single-Tooth Implant: $5,000-$7,000 per tooth
  • Implant-Supported Bridge: $7,200-$12,500
  • Implant-Supported Dentures: $15,000-$18,000
  • All-on-4 Dental Implants: $25,000-$42,000 per fixed arch

Please note that these are estimates and that the cost of dental implant treatments can vary from person to person. Dental health funds may cover a portion of the cost, and some dental offices may offer financing options to help make the treatments more affordable.

Though dental implants require a large investment upfront, it often saves patients thousands of dollars in the long term. It’s recommended to consult with a dentist to determine the specific cost of treatment for your needs.

What to Expect From Multiple Implant Procedures

The primary difference between multiple implant procedures and single implants is the number of implants placed. While single implants are used to replace one missing tooth, multiple implant procedures involve placing two or more implants to replace multiple missing teeth.

In terms of the overall process and what to expect, the initial evaluation, treatment planning, and implant placement procedures are generally the same for both single and multiple implant procedures. However, with multiple implants, the process may take longer and require additional preparatory procedures, such as bone grafting or sinus lifts.

After the implants have been placed, the healing and integration process is the same for both single and multiple implant procedures. The abutment placement and replacement tooth placement procedures will differ based on the number and location of the implants. With multiple implant procedures, a dental bridge or denture may be used to replace several missing teeth at once, whereas with single implants, a dental crown is used to replace a single missing tooth.

How Do I Care For My Dental Implants?

Proper care and maintenance of dental implants are essential to ensure their longevity and prevent complications. Here are some tips for caring for your dental implants:

  1. Brush and floss regularly:
    Dental implants require regular brushing and flossing like natural teeth. This will keep them clean and prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria. When brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, use non-abrasive toothpaste to clean around the implant.

  2. Use an antibacterial mouthwash:
    This will help kill bacteria in your mouth. This is especially important in the first few weeks after implant placement.

  3. Avoid hard or sticky foods:
    Chewing on hard or sticky foods can damage your implant. Avoid hard candies, ice, and sticky foods like caramel and gum.

  4. Visit your dentist regularly:
    Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are important. This will help maintain the health of your dental implants. Your dentist will be able to identify and address potential issues before they become more serious.

  5. Quit smoking:
    Smoking can increase the risk of implant failure. It reduces blood flow to the gums and slows down the healing process. If you smoke, consider quitting or reducing your tobacco intake.

By following these tips and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for years.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are a popular and effective solution for missing teeth, providing both cosmetic and functional benefits. By mimicking the lost tooth roots, they stimulate the jawbone to prevent bone loss and maintain density, which can help preserve the overall health of your jawbone.

In addition to promoting jawbone health, dental implants also improve oral functions such as speech and chewing. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime, making them a cost-effective and long-lasting solution for missing teeth.

If you’re considering dental implants, it’s important to consult with a dental professional to determine if you are a candidate and to learn more about the potential benefits and risks of the procedure.

At Hills Family Dental Centre, our experienced dental team is here to answer any questions you may have about dental implants and guide you through the process. We are committed to helping you achieve your oral health goals and restoring your smile with confidence. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how dental implants can benefit you.