If your missing teeth caused extensive bone loss in your lower jaw that interferes with your ability to wear a conventional denture properly, you may wonder if dental implants can help you. Although having strong jawbones is ideal for dental implant placement, an implant dentist can still help you achieve a better outlook on life and improve your oral health with subperiosteal implants. Subperiosteal implants work well for people who lack sufficient height and width in their upper and lower jaws due to edentulism, or complete tooth loss. The implants are used to stabilize dentures so that the appliances don't move around in your mouth or come loose. Here's why your lower jaw lost bone height and width and what subperiosteal dental implants can do to strengthen it.
How Does Tooth Loss Affect Your Jaw?
When you lose teeth, your jawbones no longer have the natural stimulation and support of teeth roots to help them grow. Instead, the bone tissue beneath your empty tooth sockets travel back into the jawbones. In many cases, you lose up to 25 percent of your jawbone tissue during the first year of tooth loss, which continues to occur as you age. The loss of bone tissue can have profound effects on your ability to eat properly.
For example, you may experience discomfort in the gum tissues over your empty tooth sockets when you bite down on hard vegetables or attempt to chew beef and other thick-textured meats. The muscles in your cheeks may shrink or sink in due to the lack of bone support and make you appear older than your actual age. The joints that support the lower jaw may experience pain and other serious symptoms from losing teeth. The joints control how your lower jaw opens and closes when you chew food and speak. In many cases, the joints move out of placement from the strain placed on them.
A dentist can help improve your lower jaw's functions and reduce the problems above with subperiosteal dental implants.
How Do Subperiosteal Dental Implants Work?
Subperiosteal dental implant placement is very different from the traditional root-form method. Unlike root-form implants that are inserted individually and directly into the jawbone, subperiosteal implant posts connect directly to a large, metal frame instead of your bone tissue. An implant dentist surgically fuses the frame to the top surfaces of your jaw and covers it with your gums. The frame creates a bridge across the jawbone, which stabilizes the implant and your denture after placement.
The placement of subperiosteal implants typically occurs in two stages: taking an impression or model of your jawbone and placing the appliance on your jawbone. During the first stage, an implant dentist cuts into the gum tissue to access the bone tissue beneath it. If you have sensitive gums, diseased gums or another problem that interferes with healing, the traditional method of placing subperiosteal dental implants may not be right for you. A dentist may have other options you can choose for your subperiosteal dental implant placement that work better.
New advancements and equipment in dental care allow a dentist to make computerized models of your jaw without cutting into your soft tissues during the treatment process. An implant dentist can also use the equipment to customize and fabricate a subperiosteal implant. In addition, a dentist may have the option of planning and fabricating a denture for your implant with the equipment. It's essential that you speak with a dentist about your options before you undergo the implant process to ensure a successful fit.
If you want to learn more about subperiosteal dental implants or if the procedure is right for you, contact an implant dentist for an appointment.