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How to Prevent Bone Loss After a Tooth Extraction

If your tooth is badly damaged, weakened, or infected, extracting the “problem” tooth may be the best course of action to cleanse the mouth of disease and alleviate your painful symptoms. Unfortunately, leaving empty spaces in your smile can have negative effects on your oral health, often causing concerns like the shifting of surrounding teeth and jawbone recession. Bone loss, in particular, is a debilitating side effect of living with a missing or extracted tooth. Without a tooth root to stimulate the jawbone, the structure of the upper and/or lower jaw tends to recede. This jawbone loss can further compound oral health concerns (such as loose teeth, difficulty biting, etc.) and even cause changes in your facial shape — it’s not uncommon for the distance between the nose and mouth to shorten as a result of bone recession. 

With this in mind, it’s important to treat missing or lost teeth by securing a replacement as soon as possible. There are many treatments to help fill in missing gaps and revive your smile, but only restorations using dental implants can prevent jawbone loss after suffering a missing or extracted tooth: 

  • Single implant: A dental implant is a titanium post connected to an abutment, on top of which a custom dental crown resembling a natural tooth is secured. The titanium post is affixed to the jawbone via implant surgery, serving as an artificial tooth root that stimulates the underlying bone. 
  • Implant bridge: An implant-supported bridge can replace several teeth in a row with more secure results than a bridge attached with dental crowns. Anchored by dental implants on adjacent sides of the bridge, this restoration should blend in seamlessly with your natural teeth. 
  • Implant denture or All-on-4®: Implant dentures can replace entire rows of teeth in the upper and/or lower dental arches. Many patients with traditional dentures consider implant dentures a more secure upgrade from their removable restorations, which are often ill-fitting and can slip out of place. 

A dental bridge or denture can provide beautiful results in restoring your smile, but these unaffixed restorations will not stop your jawbone from receding. For this reason and others, our dentists recommend implant-supported restorations as long as patients are good candidates for the procedure. Our multispecialty team is committed to finding the best possible tooth replacement for your unique needs. 

At Scripps Center for Dental Care, our friendly team understands how difficult it can be to live with a missing or extracted tooth. We can help you secure an effective tooth replacement to restore function and strengthen your jawbone. Contact Scripps Center for Dental Care today to schedule a consultation at our La Jolla practice. 

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