Unfortunately, jawbone loss and deterioration are things that can happen naturally. They cannot always be prevented, but it is always best to be educated and aware so you know what can potentially cause jawbone loss and deterioration and you can watch for signs and symptoms.
Jawbone loss and deterioration could lead to needing a bone grafting procedure to correct the issue.
Below, we will further discuss and detail some of the primary reasons that you could experience jawbone loss or deterioration and steps you can take as well.
1. Tooth Extractions
As children when we lose a tooth, an adult one is grown into the space. However, as adults, when a tooth is extracted or lost there remains a gap where the tooth once was. If the adult tooth is not replaced, our jaws do not get the stimulation they need to remain strong and supportive.
The jawbone is then tricked into deteriorating because of the lack of stimulation in that spot. The jawbone could begin to resorb, causing other teeth to become affected as well. If you have a tooth extracted, it is important to fill the gap from the tooth to prevent this from occurring.
2. Periodontal Disease
There are various forms of periodontal disease. Each one gradually reduces the natural support between your teeth and your gums. Periodontal disease is an infection that wears down tissues such as alveolar bone, periodontal ligaments, cementum, or gingiva.
The most common periodontal diseases are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis always comes before periodontitis but does not always evolve fully into periodontitis. Gingivitis is typically caused by dental plaque buildup. The plaque produces toxins that irritate your gums, eventually causing spaces to form above and below the gum line.
Periodontitis is a stage that comes after gingivitis. It is a progression that takes place when bacteria have adhered to the tooth’s surface and your body responds aggressively. The supporting gum tissue and bone surrounding your teeth begin to deteriorate, often leading to loss of teeth or loosening of teeth.
3. Dentures & Bridgework
Dentures and bridgework both sit on top of the gum line, but often they do not provide stimulation to the jawbone, causing it to deteriorate or resorb over time. Dentures that typically can cause these issues are unanchored dentures.
Unanchored dentures rely on the surrounding bones to hold them in place, however, if the stimulation is not provided and the bone begins to deteriorate, it will cause the dentures to not fit properly over time, causing you to have to purchase new dentures when even adhesives can no longer keep them in place.
When dentures are anchored into your mouth, they have a tighter fit, which allows your gums and the bones beneath to receive the proper stimulation needed to keep them from deteriorating further.
Bridgework is unique in that only the area under the bridge lacks proper stimulation. The surrounding areas typically still have proper stimulation to prevent them from resorbing. However, the area under the bridge is not stimulated properly and could experience bone loss.
Taking proper care of your oral health, dentures, and bridges can help reduce bone loss from these things. We also recommend considering a bone graft procedure to restore the natural bone functions and growth, halting the deterioration.
Jawbone and gum health could be negatively impacted by trauma to the area. Trauma to the area includes having a tooth or multiple teeth knocked out, jaw fractures, tooth death from previous trauma.
When a tooth is knocked out or severely damaged, it causes the stimulation of the bone to stop, which in turn will result in bone loss in the jawbone. Some teeth that are affected by trauma may not experience bone loss until many years later.
The best way to reduce bone loss and prevent deterioration is to undergo a bone grafting procedure in order to promote new bone growth and restore the traumatized area.
Misalignment provides a grave disadvantage to your jawbone and structure. The misalignment can cause your teeth to not have the necessary structure or support needed to properly stimulate or protect the underlying bone, leading to deterioration.
Misalignment can often be treated through orthodontics. Other issues that may incur from misalignment include TMJ and wearing of the teeth. Ultimately, if not corrected or treated, misalignment can cause done deterioration over time due to the lack of proper stimulation.
Osteomyelitis is a rare infection of the bone. The condition is not found often, but it is a serious condition when it does occur. In many cases, osteomyelitis is caused from a form of staph bacteria.
This bacterial infection is specific to the bone and bone marrow found in your jaw. The infection causes inflammation and reduced blood supply to the bone. It could be possible to fight the infection with strong antibiotics.
At times, the infection causes bone deterioration that must be restored and repaired through a bone graft procedure.
Tumors can grow quite large, and while many facial tumors are often benign, they may still require removing a portion of the jaw. Malignant tumors are known to spread into the jaw and also require the removal of the affected area.
A reconstructive bone grafting procedure is the best way to supplement the jaw area and strengthen the bone. In the removal of benign tumors, this is a simple procedure, but it could be much more complicated when dealing with malignant tumors due to the soft tissues affected surrounding the area.
8. Developmental Deformities
Some individuals are born with or develop deformities that lead to misshapen jaws, facial bones, or skulls. Deformities can be caused by various conditions or syndromes and could affect the overall structure of the jaw, leading to further jawbone loss or deterioration as well.
A bone graft procedure could potentially be a great solution to restore bone functions and growth due to developmental deformities.
9. Sinus Deficiencies
It is common for sinuses to be affected when molars or wisdom teeth are removed from the upper jaw. The gap in the area where the tooth once was can increase air pressure, causing the sinuses to become enlarged.
Sinus deficiencies typically develop over time and could lead to insufficient bone structure. The best treatment for this scenario is a sinus lift, to treat the enlarged sinuses.