When you lose a tooth or multiple teeth there can be many consequences which you may not be aware of.
Once a tooth is lost the bone that was supporting that tooth then begins to shrink as well as the gum.
This can become a knock on effect where the other teeth on either side will slowly lose bone and in turn be lost.
As this continues, the facial dimensions change making a person appear older. This is commonly mistaken for ageing.
If our teeth were maintained for our entire life we would not have as defined sunken cheeks and unsupported lips.
If enough teeth are lost, the ability to eat becomes harder, more load is placed on the remaining teeth and this in turn will cause them to fail. This damage does not stop at the teeth, the jaw relies on an even load so both sides of the jaw can work together to chew. If one side needs to work harder it could result in temporomandibular joint problems, this could require separate treatment and in some cases can never be returned to their original state.
In the past, certain circumstances made it difficult to provide dental implant solutions. Bone grafting was very complex and required multiple operations and time to heal. There were other options like bridges but in most situations, this means cutting down a healthy tooth for the bridge to be supported. Patients were then left with the option of dentures.
Dentures do replace missing teeth and assist with chewing but they are also a breeding ground for bacteria.
The mouth is full of bacteria, which is why brushing and flossing are required twice a day along with regular check-ups by your Dentist. Teeth are made to resist the bacteria and use saliva to fight it to a certain extent, however, dentures are acrylic; a plastic which cannot do this and cannot be cleaned as well. Therefore they add to the build-up and bacteria which affects the surrounding teeth.
Partial dentures were designed as a first step to eventually getting a full denture.
Unfortunately, implants do have their disadvantages, the most important being not enough bone.
Bone is a vital element for a successful implant. If there is not enough bone, the patient can either not have the implant, settle for dentures or undertake extensive surgery to have bone grafted from their hip.
Advances allow us to provide patients with an array of alternative options to hip grafting.
Some can be as simple as using a bone substitute out of a bottle which the majority of our patients undergo. This is a minimally invasive procedure that can be done in-house under just a local anaesthetic, or if preferred, with the use of sedation therapy also.
A more recent option which was designed to completely avoid bone grafting is called All-On-4. This procedure was developed in partnership with Dr Paulo Malo and Nobel Biocare, the first implant company established. This innovative concept allows for a bridge of teeth to be fixed to 4 Nobel Biocare implants immediately and without any grafting.
There will still be those situations that are more complex and will need more bone to allow for this. There is now a protein called Infuse BMP-2. This protein once injected stimulates bone growth.
At The Inner West Dental Implant Centre, we work closely with our consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr Khaled Zoud to make this new procedure a success. We have helped change our patients’ lives and contributed to the improvement of our advancing technologies.