How is bone loss associated with dental implants?


What can cause bone loss?

Whenever a tooth is lost, whether by natural causes, an accident or extraction, a considerable amount of the bone that once surrounded the remaining root may disappear. This loss can be particularly rapid during the first few months.

This can cause dentures to become loose. Initially the increased rate of bone loss following tooth loss is responsible for the observed deterioration of denture fit. Over the long-term, it is the direct effect of chewing forces that causes slow deterioration of the supporting bone. Therefore the longer dentures are worn, the less bone is available for dental implants.

How do you know if you have enough bone for dental implants?

Routine dental X-rays show large amounts of detail in two dimensions. From these views it is generally possible to judge the height of bone available for implant placement. However, more advanced imaging techniques are sometimes needed to determine the equally important bone width, such as dental CBCT (cone beam computed tomography) scans, which show more detail with three-dimensional images.

Can dental implants preserve bone?

This is one of the most important features of dental implants. Once in place and supporting teeth, everyday functional forces (eating, smiling, talking) stimulate the surrounding bone, which responds by becoming stronger and denser. Like all things there are limits as to how much work the implant can do.
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This article was updated on 11th January 2021.

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