Missing teeth and bone loss are closely related. As teeth fall out or are extracted, the bone supporting the roots will begin to atrophy and lead to further missing teeth if proper preventive steps are not taken. Drs. Mike Meek and David Tasch can discuss what causes jaw bone loss, and provide all necessary treatments at their Austin, TX, office. At 38th Street Dental, we believe in comprehensive care. By educating yourself on your options, you can save yourself time, worry, and money in the future. If missing teeth and bone degeneration are left untreated, the result may be a long-term negative impact on your health that requires more costly, complex treatment.
There are a variety of treatments available today that help prevent and repair bone resorption and preserve existing bone.
Understanding the Link Between Tooth and Bone Loss
Tooth loss can be a frustrating situation to overcome. When tooth loss is left unaddressed, it can result in jawbone degeneration (bone loss) and further tooth loss. This domino effect leads to an ongoing and harmful cycle. The reasons for tooth loss and bone resorption can vary, but the result is always the same. Some causes include:
Tooth Decay and Periodontal Disease
The number one leading cause of tooth loss is poor oral health. When certain bacteria are present in the mouth, tooth decay and gum disease can occur. Because the bacteria are harmful and can multiply quickly, the resulting infection can gradually deteriorate the soft and hard tissues within the mouth, leading to tooth loss and jawbone degeneration.
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Missing or Misaligned Teeth
When a tooth is present, the jawbone is stimulated and preserved by normal function, such as chewing. However, if the dental root is removed, bone loss will naturally occur. Because the bone in the jaw no longer supports a tooth, the tissue simply reabsorbs into the body and is delivered to other areas. Similarly, if the teeth do not fit together properly, irregular chewing function can occur, resulting in loss of jawbone stimulation.
Unfortunately, traditional dentures can exacerbate bone loss. Because dentures rest directly on your gums, the jawbone underneath can be gradually worn away due to pressure from biting, chewing, and eating. The result can cause a constant shift in bone and gum structures, making denture adjustments a common necessity.
Preventing and Restoring Bone Loss
There are a variety of treatments available today that can help prevent and repair bone resorption and preserve existing jawbone:
- Dental Implants: Because a dental implant serves as a prosthetic tooth root, the jawbone receives adequate stimulation for bone preservation and provides a better tooth replacement alternative than traditional restorations.
- Bone Grafting: If jawbone resorption has already occurred, the treatment area can be strengthened with a bone grafting procedure. This procedure can use the patient's own bone, donated tissue, or a synthetic material, providing the height and width necessary to provide a stable foundation for a dental implant.
- Sinus Lifts: If you have had a tooth removed on the upper arch, the sinuses often must be raised in order to create sufficient room for a dental implant. In order to do this, the thin membrane of the sinus is gently raised, and bone grafting material is placed into the space left behind. Advancements in dentistry have made the sinus lift procedure a common and successful way to restore your bone structure.
Call Us to Schedule a Consultation
Missing teeth and bone loss can have a serious negative impact on your quality of life. If you are ready to explore teeth replacement options, schedule an appointment to find out how Dr. Meek and Dr. Tasch can restore your smile. You can contact us online, or call our office at (512) 458-6222.