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When you have a missing tooth, the supporting jawbone can suffer from resorption, a breakdown of the jaw bone that worsens with time. This is because each day your teeth gently touch each other, prompting the bone underneath each tooth to keep rebuilding and maintaining its density. A missing tooth stops this rebuilding of bone.
Resorption weakens the jaw and changes a person’s appearance, giving the face a ‘sunken’ look. Apart from the aesthetic factors, chronic pain in the jaw joint (TMJ) may result as the gaps make it possible for the remaining teeth to shift position which causes bite relationship problems with the opposing teeth.
If you have missing teeth, you are probably all-too-well aware of problems with chewing your food, particularly raw fruits and vegetables, and the loss of self-confidence associated with this and feel that your general wellbeing suffers.
Dentures are one tooth replacement option but they allow the bone that used to surround your teeth to fade away because a removable denture puts pressure directly on the bone surface resulting in bone wear and inevitably, because of this, the denture starts to lose its fit and can slip and slide when you speak or eat.
Implants are a better long term option for most people, but prompt action to replace the missing tooth is important as the gradual loss of jawbone which is required to support the implants can lead to more expensive treatment as bone grafting surgery may be required to stabilise the implant.
If you have insufficient bone to have an implant placed, then a bone grafting procedure can be performed.
This procedure replaces missing bone with a material called a bone graft which also assists your body re-grow lost bone or mend jaw bone defects that can occur due to the effects of long-term missing teeth or infection.
The new bone growth subsequently fortifies the grafted area by developing a bridge between the existing bone and the graft. The newly formed bone then replaces most of the grafted material.
At CARE Dentistry, we also provide a procedure known as Guided Bone Regeneration which uses a membrane over the graft site that further encourages new bone to growth. It also thwarts the development of scar tissue in the grafted area.
We can also perform sinus augmentation which is where bone is added to the upper jaw area around the premolar and molar teeth. The ultimate aim of this delicate procedure is to have enough bone in the targeted location to then support a dental implant which can also be done at our centre.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner