Why Does the Jawbone Deteriorate When You Lose Teeth?

dental careWhen you lose any of your permanent teeth, whether because of an extraction or from advanced gum disease, it does more than just ruin your smile. It can also affect your facial structure and oral health.

The parts of your jawbone once connected to the lost teeth slowly deteriorate, as they no longer have anything to support. This results in the significant loss of bone density and volume. After several months to a few years, the consequences of this will be quite noticeable.

Jawbone resorption affects your facial features, causing sunken cheeks, thinner lips, and wrinkles around the mouth area. It also leaves your remaining teeth more vulnerable to infection, and can lead to misalignment. As you can see, this is a serious matter that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

Why You Might Need a Bone Graft

Aesthetic Smiles says getting dental implants will help prevent any additional bone deterioration; as the implants are rooted within the jawbone itself, they act as anchors and provide the necessary support to maintain its density. But, if the deterioration has reached an advanced stage, an additional procedure may be necessary.

There may no longer be enough bone left to completely surround the implant. Generally speaking, at least 1mm of bone is required on all sides, more if it is placed next to a tooth or another implant. If the jaw has become too thin to support the implant, your dentist may have to perform a bone graft first.

This is a safe, painless and simple operation. Bone or a bone-like material will be added to your jaw, giving it the necessary volume. After a short period of healing, the dentist can then proceed to place your new dental implants. Sometimes, it is even possible to do the bone graft and place an implant at the same time.

Every case is different, so it is important to consult your dentist. They should be able to tell you whether your jawbone is strong enough to support an implant, or if a graft will be necessary.