As we get older suddenly we realised many things we didn't appreciate about being young - being fit, having smooth skin and having all your own teeth. As our loose teeth (and bridges) struggle to deal with chewier food we start eating bland mush and, there is no easy way to say this, OLD PEOPLE FOOD. I'm determined not to let that happen to me and I'm doing everything I can to keep my own teeth as long as possible, and when that's not possible to get the best possible teeth replacement. If you are like me and want to keep on eating whatever you want, I think you'll like my site. It's all about dental health and teeth replacement & maintenance.
When an adult loses a tooth, it's quite a nuisance. Dentists recommend implants to replace missing teeth, but many adults resist this recommendation unless it involves the visible front teeth. Cost is the main reason why you want to delay having dental implants at the moment, but this delay puts you at risk of a condition called Alveolar Atrophy. Before you pause implants for too long, you need to know what oral damage you are exposing yourself to.
Your jaw with all teeth
Your jaw is two sets of curved bone which hold your teeth in place. The alveolar ridge is the part of the jaw which has the sockets that support the roots of your teeth. When you open your mouth, the hinges of the jaw open. When you chew, the jaw moves up and down bringing your teeth together to grind your food.
Your jaw with teeth missing
When you lose a tooth from your mouth, the way you chew food changes. As your jaws come together to break down whatever you are eating, there is now a difference in the pressure force in the area where your tooth once was. Before, there was pressure when the top and the bottom tooth came together, but now, there is no pressure between the missing tooth and the one directly above it.
The impact on the alveolar ridge
Once this pressure no longer occurs between the teeth, changes happen in the alveolar ridge. First of all, the ridge loses its width, and then it loses its height. These two changes are what makes up the dental condition called alveolar atrophy.
When alveolar atrophy reaches a critical stage, you are no longer a candidate for receiving a dental implant. This is because there is not enough bone to hold the implant rod in place. If a dentist tried to place a dental implant in an alveolar ridge which is narrow and shallow, they would damage the nerves which are also in this area. A bone implant to the jaw is the only way for a dental implant to proceed once atrophy takes hold.
The amount of time it takes for alveolar atrophy to become a major problem varies between individuals. It could be as little as a few months, or it could be as long as a few years. However, the decision to delay having a dental implant procedure due to cost is one which could put you at risk. So, talk to your dentist to find out what payment options are available to get this procedure completed sooner rather than later.