Is Dental Bone Loss Serious?

What is Dental Bone Loss?

Dental bone loss occurs most commonly because a tooth or teeth are missing. Bone growth happens naturally as a result of stimulation in the jaw from chewing and biting. When teeth are missing, this stimulation does not happen and the bone is naturally resorbed. Unless missing teeth are replaced, significant bone loss occurs relatively quickly and will continue unless treated.

The most common causes for bone deterioration include tooth extractions, loose dentures, a misaligned bite, and trauma. All of these problems inhibit natural bone growth by reducing or eliminating the stimulation required to prevent resorption.

Gum disease, another common factor, can lead to tooth loss by damaging or destroying the tissues that support the teeth. When dental plaque invades the gums and tooth roots, it decays these structures. If left untreated, the plaque hardens into tartar and can become infected. Consequently, teeth can rot and fall out, leaving the area susceptible to bone loss.

What Happens When Bone is Lost

When the jawbone begins to deteriorate, the bone and tissues that support other teeth are affected. Leaving a lost tooth untreated for too long can have a cascading effect where the bone resorbs, leading to higher risk of other teeth becoming loose or even falling out. This in turn lessens the biting stimulus, further weakening the bone. Eventually, without treatment, enough bone can be resorbed that dentures become too loose and implanting material to repair the damage becomes impossible.

Treatments for Bone Loss

Regardless of the reason for dental bone resorption, your dental professional should be able to help. Oftentimes, if the bone loss is not severe, composite bonding can help to aesthetically fix the small gaps and holes formed at the bottom of the teeth along the gum line.

Many cases of bone loss can be treated with a dental implant. A titanium implant can be placed in the gums to reinstate the ridge line to its proper form and height. This works by providing resistance during biting and chewing, stimulating the area. When stimulated, dental bones can regenerate naturally and a tooth can be replaced.

If significant bone loss has occurred, a bone grafting procedure may be necessary. This is usually only needed when the bone has been completely or nearly completely eroded. A synthetic or natural bone tissue is implanted in the jaw to not only replace the bone, but also to stimulate the area so that regrowth may occur.

Prevention of Bone Loss

As with many aspects of health, prevention is always more effective than repairing when it comes to dental bone loss. A daily oral hygiene regimen consisting of twice daily brushing and flossing properly will do wonders for your dental health as well as your overall wellbeing.

It is also vital to see your dentist regularly and listen to the professional advice they impart. It is often very difficult to diagnose dental bone loss at home, but dentists have the tools necessary to determine the existence and extent of any bone loss that may have occurred as well as having the knowledge to help you slow the process itself.

What Causes Dental Bone Loss