Missing Teeth and Jawbone Loss By Alex Hecht on June 24, 2020

Pen pointing to a panoramic x-ray with missing teethWhen tooth loss occurs, the supporting bone begins to shrink and recede. Left untreated, this can compromise oral health and function. It can also lead to even more tooth loss, which only repeats the harmful cycle.

Here, our Staten Island, NY, team discusses the undeniable link between missing teeth and jawbone loss. We will also explain how dental implants placed by Drs. Jason and Alex Hecht can halt the progression of bone loss and prevent future atrophy from occurring.

Why Tooth Loss Occurs

Individuals sustain tooth loss for many reasons. One of the most common is gum disease. This condition is characterized by red, puffy gum tissue and is caused by an accumulation of plaque and tartar at the gum line.

Left untreated, the bacteria that causes gum disease seeps beneath the gum line and attacks the bone and periodontal ligaments that support the teeth. Over time, this leads to mobility and tooth loss.

Other reasons for tooth loss include decay and facial trauma. Patients who suffer from bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding and clenching, also have a higher risk for dental damage and tooth loss.

How Is Tooth Loss and Jawbone Loss Related?

As previously mentioned, jawbone atrophy is a common byproduct of tooth loss. But why does this occur? Natural tooth roots stimulate nerves in the jaw. This stimulation sends signals to the body that nutrients are necessary to preserve bone health in that area. When tooth loss occurs, the jawbone no longer receives that stimulation. As a result, the jawbone loses height, width, and density.

When bone loss begins, the jaw changes shape, triggering a number of concerning issues. The adjacent teeth can start shifting and the bite can change drastically. This can lead to a host of issues, including bruxism, TMJ disorder, excessive wear and tear, and more. Furthermore, tooth loss and jawbone recession can cause a sunken-in appearance because there is no longer support for the facial features.

Preventing Jawbone Recession after Tooth Loss

Dental implants are the only restorative option available that actually replaces missing teeth roots. Once placed, implants can stimulate the jaw in a similar fashion. As a result, jawbone atrophy is halted, and the risk of future bone loss is reduced. Dental implants can be restored with crowns, bridges, and dentures, depending on the specific needs of the patient. We can discuss your options during a visit at our Staten Island practice.

There are alternative treatments available. Missing teeth can also be replaced with traditional bridges and dentures. These restorations can improve the aesthetics of your smile, but they do nothing to stop bone loss from occurring.

Dental implants are widely successful and are considered the longest-lasting restorative option. In fact, with proper care, implants can last a lifetime.

Schedule Your Dental Implant Consultation Today

Whether you have just lost a tooth or have been missing teeth for years, it is important to replace them as soon as possible. Teeth replacement completes your smile, but it also preserves your oral health, overall function, and quality of life. To learn more about dental implants, schedule a consultation at our Staten Island practice. Call us at (718) 705-4434 or contact us online anytime.

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