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The simple answer is, teeth, although in appearance and structure they seem similar to bone, are NOT bone. This is one of the many misunderstandings / myths of dentistry, Therefore, your teeth don’t actually experience bone loss—rather, it’s the bone in your jaw that can develop issues.
The vitality and overall wellness of the jaw bone is dependent upon a healthy oral system. When oral health is impacted due to neglect, trauma, or other complications, jaw bone deterioration (also referred to as dental bone loss) can be managed most appropriately by visiting your dentist. These professionals are trained to offer solutions for restoring your oral health and keeping your teeth and jaw bone healthy and functional.
The jawbone plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy teeth. It supports the roots of the teeth and helps anchor them securely in the mouth. The jawbone provides structural integrity to the face, helps with your bite alignment, and is a vital factor in how well you breath. It is an important part of your body that acts as a stable foundation for your teeth.
However, it isn’t invincible, and the bone in your jaw can change or deteriorate over time, a symptom we refer to as “dental bone loss.” This condition can lead to significant complications for your oral health, as your jaw supports your teeth, contributes to your facial shape. If you begin to experience dental bone loss, your teeth can shift, change, or even fall out. An unhealthy jawbone can have a significant effect on your appearance, possibly leading to a shrunken or aged look.
This condition can also affect the success of dental implants. They typically require a healthy bone structure to anchor to, so if your jaw becomes compromised, the implant may cause other complications or health concerns. If an implant is improperly rooted or anchored in your mouth and exposes part of your jaw, you become vulnerable to infections and outside bacteria.
There are many factors that can cause dental bone loss, but one of the primary causes is a problem with your bite alignment. The alignment of your teeth is referred to as occlusion. When your teeth are aligned improperly (malocclusion), you may experience problems with biting your lips or cheeks. It also changes the stress points on the jaw bone from the force of your bite. Those with malocclusion may experience jaw fatigue or jaw “cracking”.
When excessive and repeated pressure due to malocclusion occurs, the force can lead to wear and tear on the jaw bone, likely resulting in bone deterioration. If bite misalignment is identified and treated in time there are solutions that can restore balance to your bite.
There are other factors that contribute to bone loss in your jaw.
Over time, the absence of teeth and their roots causes the jawbone to shrink, which may result in a sunken and aged appearance many people experience in the jaw and chin area.
Losing a permanent tooth doesn’t just impact how you chew or speak. It can also affect overall wellness. Over time, teeth can shift towards the space, potentially leading to crooked or misaligned teeth and a malformed bite. Missing teeth can also lead to bone deterioration, potentially changing the shape of your jaw and face.
Dental implants can preserve bone tissue and improve tooth function. The implant acts as the tooth root—the part below the gumline. After the root is inserted, the visible part of the implant is covered with a cap or crown that looks like a natural tooth. Dental implants can also help replace multiple missing teeth by forming a sturdy base for a dental bridge or a set of dentures.
Your general health is an important factor for a successful implant procedure. Gum and bone tissue are the primary concerns.
Radiographs can determine whether the client has enough jaw bone to hold the implant securely. Where bone deficiencies are identified, dental bone grafting can offer potential solutions to jawbone shrinkage or abnormal jaw development.
One common cause of dental bone loss has to do with post-extraction complications — problems that develop after a tooth has been removed or replaced. If a tooth hasn’t been cared for properly, or there was an issue extracting it cleanly and safely, it can lead to problems developing in the socket.
In some situations, a missing tooth can lead to the bone weakening as it no longer receives frequent pressure or stimulation from the bite. It can also cause your teeth to shift slightly towards the vacant space and change how the jaw is stressed and stimulated. This can lead to the bone naturally degenerating and breaking down. Additionally, if the tooth is extracted improperly or the jaw bone is damaged in any way, it can weaken the structural integrity of the bone.
In other situations, an infection can develop if the extraction site isn’t cared for or cleaned properly. Bacterial buildup can lead to certain conditions developing in the affected area after an extraction, and this can cause an inflammatory response that can affect / interrupt how the bone begins to heal. This process has several names, including “post-extraction inflammation,” “post-operative inflammation,” and “systemic inflammatory response syndrome.”
No matter the name, it can lead to serious problems in your jaw and throughout your body! If you have a tooth removed, replaced, or fixed, it’s essential to follow your dentist’s recommendations to keep the area clean and free of bacteria.
If you think you may be dealing with dental bone loss, the first thing you should do is visit your dentist for a checkup. They have the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to properly assess your oral health and determine what may be causing you concern, pain or discomfort. If they suspect you’re dealing with bone loss, they can help you determine a plan to address the situation.
One common solution to this problem is through a simple bone graft, where your doctor replaces missing bone with a grafting material that helps stimulate new bone growth. This helps with stability and structural integrity in your jaw, providing a safe foundation for your teeth.
Another solution they may suggest is a dental implant in the affected area to fill gaps that may be leading to bone health problems. This can help realign your bite and stimulate the bone underneath to encourage it to grow and heal.
The best way to handle dental bone loss is through prevention. It’s important to follow the recommendations of your dentist when it comes to oral health, and practicing proper oral hygiene is key. Regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist can give you the opportunity to catch any potentially developing conditions early, when they’re the most treatable.
At Living Wellness Dental Dorchester, we understand how important dental bone health is to your quality of life. It provides a foundation of health and strength for your teeth. Our team of health professionals provide the same benefit. To assess the health and vitality of your teeth and jaw, book an appointment with us today!
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