You may have heard how dental implants offer a permanent and beautiful replacement for missing teeth. But if your original teeth have been gone for an extended time, you may now hear that your bone in these areas is not as dense as it once was. If so, your jawbone may not be able to support implants. The good news is Dr. Virginia Lee can still help you make your dream of a gorgeous smile come true.
How Bone Loss Occurs
There are a number of causes for bone loss, the primary one being missing teeth. Without a full set of teeth, your jawbone is missing some of the constant stimulation that comes from chewing and biting. The same lack of stimulation occurs with removable dentures.
When normal stimulation is missing, bone mass begins to break down and get absorbed back into the body—a process called “resorption.” Resorption can mean that you won’t have enough strong, healthy bone to anchor implants.
Facial trauma, such as a bad fall or a car accident, can change the shape of the jaw and lead to abnormal stresses and misalignments. This, too, can cause areas of the jawbone to lack normal stimulation and thus be resorbed.
Chronic infections in the gums, abscessed teeth and improper extractions all mean elevated levels of bacterial growth in the mouth that can damage bone.
Women with osteoporosis may lose bone mass in the jaw which means there may not be enough bone to anchor teeth. The National Institutes of Health notes that women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to lose teeth than women without this disease.
Effects of Bone Loss
As bone is lost, the face begins to change shape. The lower part of the face will often cave in, resulting in a much older look. Even facial muscles and skin change, losing tone and sagging.
Teeth loosen and dental appliances like false teeth, bridgework or partial dentures no longer fit.
At one time, this bone loss would have meant that implants were impossible. But now, with the expert care of Dr. Virginia Lee and her staff, your body can be stimulated to grow new bone to support your implants!
Your Jawbone Augmentation
Recent discoveries now enable skilled oral surgeons to rebuild jawbone. The procedures starts with planting small bits of bone from the patient’s own body or harvested bone from other sources in the damaged areas of the jawbone. The gum is carefully opened in the area that needs rebuilding and these chips are tightly packed in place. The area is closed up securely and allowed to heal. Over a period of months, the body surrounds this grafted bone with new, natural bone. When healing is complete, an implant has a secure anchor and you can take your next step toward that beautiful smile.
Dental Implants in the Heart of Washington, D.C.
In the Washington, D.C. area, Dr. Virginia Lee is an excellent choice for this procedure. Following dental school, she continued her training in oral and maxillofacial surgery from University of Maryland Medical Systems and from Adam Crowley’s Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Now approaching twenty years in practice, her expertise can make your bone restoration process as smooth and painless as possible. Contact Capital Face & Oral Surgery Center for a consultation and get started on the restoration of your new smile!