Missing Teeth and Bone Loss
Your teeth have many important jobs. Not only do they enable you to bite and chew, but they also aid in proper speech and a beautiful smile. In addition to these functions, the teeth play a crucial role in the health and integrity of your jawbone. Losing your teeth, whether it is just one or you lose many, affects all functions of your teeth as well as your jawbone. Tooth loss leads to bone loss, which can then lead to numerous other issues. At Neil Starr, DDS, PC, we can help.
How Do You Lose Teeth in the First Place?
Tooth loss happens for many reasons. One of the biggest causes is gum disease. Gum disease is a progressive issue that begins when bacteria and plaque irritate the gum tissue. This triggers an inflammatory response that causes the gums to swell. Eventually, swollen tissue begins to pull away from the teeth, allowing bacteria to fall below the gum line. Once there, the bacteria begin attacking the periodontal ligaments and the bone, causing them to become weak. This compromises the stability of your teeth, and they become loose and even fall out. While gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, there are other causes as well, including such things as:
|Severe tooth decay
|Bruxism or the grinding and clenching of your teeth
Missing Teeth and Bone Loss
Your teeth have many crucial roles in your mouth. One of these roles is helping to maintain the health and integrity of your jawbone. When you chew, the teeth stimulate the bone. This stimulation triggers the body to send essential nutrients that are needed for the health of your jaw and surrounding areas. When you lose teeth, even if you only lose just one, the amount of stimulation your jaw receives is lessened. As a result, the body begins to send fewer nutrients. This eventually leads to the resorption of the jaw, and the jaw loses height, width, and mass. Over time, as you lose bone mass, the jaw begins to change shape. This has several significant impacts. The jaw begins to change shape. Healthy teeth that remain in your jaw begin to shift out of alignment, throwing off your bite. When this happens, you may experience bruxism, uneven and excessive tooth wear, and TMJ disorder. In the event of significant bone loss, the shape of your face begins to change as well. Bone loss causes loss of support for facial tissue, causing sagging, jowls, sunken lips and cheeks, and wrinkles.
Stopping and Preventing Bone Loss After Tooth Loss
You have a few options available when it comes to replacing missing teeth. Traditional treatments, bridges, and dentures, restore the functions of your missing teeth and your smile. They can also help to fill out your facial features. However, none of these options can stop the bone loss in your jaw. As a result, the bone continues to lose mass, and your restorations need to be periodically replaced. Dental implants are a modern alternative to these traditional treatments. Unlike bridges and dentures, implants use small titanium posts that are surgically implanted in your jawbone. The bone fuses to these posts, creating strong, stable roots that support your new crowns. The posts of the implants mimic the roots of your natural teeth and restore the stimulation to your jawbone. This stops bone loss in its tracks and prevents new bone loss from occurring. Dental implants are the only replacement option to offer this amazing benefit, preserving the health and integrity of your jawbone. If you have lost teeth, even if it is only one tooth, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. We can replace missing teeth with dental implants, putting an end to bone loss and preserving the integrity of your jaw. Call Neil Starr, DDS, PC today at (202) 293-7177 for more information and to schedule your consultation.