A dental implant is a specialized device that is designed to replace the root of a missing tooth. The portion of the tooth that is exposed in the oral cavity is replaced by other devices that may be paired with an implant, such as a dental crown, bridge, or denture.
Because the dental implant is actually placed inside the jawbone, the bone responds to the presence of the device. Here are some of the ways that the jawbone reacts, after the placement of an implant.
Immediately after an implant is inserted into the bone of the jaw, the bone begins to integrate with the device. New bone cells are produced, to fill the gap between the implant and the jawbone. This integration process, which is called osseointegration, continues for a few months, after the implant's placement. At the end of the process, the device is securely positioned in the jawbone and will not move about during mastication.
Nevertheless, a blow to the mouth can cause an implant to move from its position in the jawbone. If this type of trauma-initiated movement does occur after osseointegration is complete, the bone does not refill the resulting spaces between the implant and the bone. Thus, the implant does not re-stabilize within the jaw, and the implantation procedure fails. A new dental implant must be placed in order to properly restore the missing tooth.
After the placement of the new implant, osseointegration is initiated with the new device. The process will, again, take months to complete.
Stimulation of Cell Production
Once the implant wound has healed, the jawbone still responds to its presence. As a patient bites or chews, the pressure or force involved is transferred from the crown, bridge, or denture that covers the implant to the implant itself. The implant then transfers the force to the jawbone, where the force incites or stimulates the production of additional bone cells.
This stimulation is particularly important, because it helps the jawbone maintain a healthy mass. A thin area of bone may even begin to thicken.
The stimulation occurs easily with natural teeth, because the dental roots are positioned in the jawbone and also transfer bite pressure. However, tooth-replacement applications, such as traditional dentures that are not implant-supported, only rest at the gum line and do not transfer stimulating bite force to the jawbone.
To learn more about dental implants and their effects on the jawbone, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.
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