In a series of dental articles, the Saskatoon dental team at Neesh Dental share interesting dental information and education. In our latest post, we discuss bone loss in teeth.
BONE LOSS IN TEETH AND ITS TREATMENT
What causes bone loss in teeth?
Bone loss is a common consequence of loss of teeth and chronic periodontitis.
In the case of periodontitis, the bacteria gradually eat away at the underlying jawbone and at the periodontal ligaments that connect the tooth to the bone.
The most common cause of bone loss is tooth loss left unreplaced, especially multiple teeth. Jawbone is preserved through the pressure and stimulus of chewing. When that is removed through tooth loss, the bone “resorbs” (reabsorbs) into the body. In the first year after tooth extraction, 25% of bone is lost, and this bone loss continues on.
Bone Loss Video
This bone loss occurs in the bone surrounding and supporting the tooth, known as an alveolar bone. Alveolar bone forms the ridges in which the teeth are embedded. These ridges atrophy both vertically and horizontally.
Replacing teeth with full or partial dentures doesn’t solve the problem as the dentures exert a very small amount of chewing pressure on the bone compared to natural teeth, as low as 10% or less.
Removal of the molars in the upper jaw can cause additional resorption of the bone due to the expansion of the sinus cavity. With no teeth in place, the air pressure in the sinus cavity can cause resorption of the bone lining the sinuses.
Other causes of bone loss
- Bone loss can also be caused by misaligned teeth, creating a situation where normal chewing doesn’t occur, causing loss of the needed stimulus to the bone.
- Bone can be lost through an infection that damages the bone.
- A large tumour in the face may require removal of a tumour and some of the jaw.
Bone loss and dentures
Dentures can accelerate bone loss by wearing away at the ridges of bone they are placed on. Every time you bite down or clench your teeth you are placing pressure on the ridge, resulting in its resorption. This is a primary cause of continual problems on getting dentures to fit, of sore spots and difficult or painful chewing.
People who wear dentures can experience another severe consequence of bone loss: the collapse of the lower third of their face.
The loss of the ridge bone brings your chin closer to the nose, causing your jaw to jut out and your nose appears to stick out further because your upper lip has puckered in. Deep wrinkles appear around the mouth and the cheeks develop “jowls”— sagging skin. This facial collapse can appear to age you by many years!
Preventing bone loss
Bone loss can be prevented by giving the jawbone a replacement tooth with a root that can exert the same or similar pressure as natural teeth. This is done immediately after extraction by replacing single teeth with dental implants, or by using a fixed implant-supported bridge or denture.
A single-tooth implant or a dental bridge with three to four teeth supported by two implants provide a chewing power of 99% of natural bite force. A denture secured with dental implants, such as our Same Day Teeth procedure, provides about 70% to 80% of normal biting force and helps considerably in preventing bone loss.
At Neesh Dental in Saskatoon, a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Our team of Saskatoon dentists and support staff try to always share interesting articles, dental facts and dental hygiene tips so you can take good care of your teeth. Contact us today to book a Saskatoon dental appointment.