The Importance of a Solid, Healthy Jawbone

A healthy jawbone is critical for tooth retention, good oral health, and overall facial structure and function, but jawbone deterioration and loss is very common and can be brought on by several causes. When a strong, solid jawbone is not present, teeth don’t function, feel, or look as they should, and you’re at risk for loosing the tooth or teeth altogether. Jawbone density and health are serious components of your oral and overall health, and Detroit dentist Dr. Aziza Askari wants you to be aware of what can cause jawbone deterioration and/or loss.

Tooth Extractions

Because natural teeth are embedded in the jawbone and attached via a root, anytime a tooth is lost, whether as a result of extraction, trauma, or disease, the jawbone ceases to be stimulated in that area, which can cause the jawbone to resorb if the tooth is not replaced, either by reimplantation of the natural tooth or with a manmade dental implant. The amount of bone and gum loss and the rate at which this loss progresses varies from person to person and case to case, but the majority occurs during the first year after the tooth is lost and continues throughout life. As the jawbone resorbs, the risk of further tooth loss and disease increases greatly.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in dental plaque irritates the gums and then affects the tissue and bone that support the teeth. When left untreated, or in very advanced stages, the tissues and bone that support the teeth become even more inflamed and then start to break down, separate from the teeth, and in severe cases, cause the teeth to fall out or need to be removed. If this occurs, jawbone loss is a major risk.

To protect yourself from gum disease, practice quality at-home oral hygiene, see Dr. Askari for bi-annual dental cleanings and exams, and seek the help of a professional if you experience bleeding gums, loose teeth, and chronic bad breath.

Dentures/Bridgework

Although dentures, dental bridges, and other restorative procedures restore appearance and function to a smile, most are not designed to mimic a natural tooth’s ability to simulate the jawbone. Unless a denture is held in place by dental implants that are embedded in the jaw, these restorations simply rest on top of the gum tissue and therefore have the same effect that missing teeth have on the jawbone. With nothing to stimulate it, the jawbone will simply deteriorate and put you at risk for further health problems.

Other Common Causes of Jawbone Loss

  • Trauma including knocked-out teeth, tooth fractures, and severe oral or facial injury
  • Misalignment of the jaw and bite
  • Tumors (cancerous or benign)
  • Osteomyelitis, or an infection in the bone and bone marrow of the jaw
  • Osteoradionecrosis, or an injury that occurs when a high dose of radiation is given to treat mouth cancer and some of the bone is killed in the process
  • Developmental deformities including birth defects, cleft lip/palate, and missing portions of the teeth, facial bones, jaw, or skull
  • Sinus deficiencies

Dr. Askari and the Comfort Dental Spa team are highly experienced in the fields of oral and maxillofacial surgery, bone grafting, facial reconstruction, dental implants, and malocclusion treatment, so you’re in good hands at our Farmington Hills, Michigan dental office. To reserve a consultation appointment with Dr. Askari, call us at (248) 474-6434 or visit us online at comfortdentalspa.com.