Options to preventing jaw bone loss following tooth loss

12:08:00 AM

Hello Chicsters! 

Most people understand that poor oral care can cause gum disease to develop and cause tooth decay. However, it's not quite as well known that those conditions can cause bone loss in the jaw, as well. When the health of the teeth and gums continues to worsen, it can create the perfect condition for bacteria to spread. The bacteria will dive deeper into the gums, attacking the ligaments that connect the teeth to the bone.

Options to preventing jaw bone loss following tooth loss

A Deeper Look at Bone Loss

The loss of just one tooth can compromise the overall health of the entire jawbone. This is because the integrity of the jawbone is maintained through the act of chewing. As we chew our foods, the pressure that action puts on the jaw stimulates bone strength, but, when a tooth is missing, the body reabsorbs the unprotected bone. Within one year after the loss of a tooth, as much as 25% of the bone is lost.

Bone loss first occurs surrounding the supporting teeth, where the tooth loss occurred. The alveolar bone, which consists of ridges in which the tooth is secured, begin to degrade. Even when dentures are used to replace the teeth, bone loss still affects the alveolar bone, because there are no roots to secure the artificial teeth in place. This means there's significantly less pressure on the bone and some research suggests that even full dentures only provide 10% of the support provided by natural teeth.

When an individual loses upper teeth, bone loss can become more advanced, because the missing tooth exposes the sinus cavity. The increased air pressure in the sinus cavity accelerates bone loss. Additional factors that can contribute to advanced bone loss are misaligned teeth or infections that directly target and damage the bone.

Can Bone Loss Be Prevented?

The primary goal, of course, is to prevent bone loss, before it can occur. When an individual loses a tooth, it's important to replace that tooth as soon as possible. An implant is the best method for replacing the tooth, because it also uses a root system similar to that of a natural tooth. The root portion of the implant helps to secure the tooth and provides the type of pressure that promotes a strong and healthy jawbone.

While a dental implant is best in replacing a single tooth, more advanced tooth loss can be repaired with a fixed implant-supported bridge. When an implant, or a four-tooth bridge utilizing at least two implants, is used, up to 99% of the natural chewing power is restored. In some cases, dentures that incorporate two or more implants may be used to restore up to 80% of the individual's normal chewing strength. By restoring chewing power as much as possible, these methods are especially helpful in preventing bone loss.

Additional Options to Repairing Bone Loss

One common treatment for bone loss is grafting. This is often done to build up the height and width of the bone, when there isn't enough bone still present to secure a dental implant in place. For some patients, bone grafting can also be used to rebuild the bone that has decayed around the teeth, due to chronic gum disease. This helps maintain the integrity of the mouth and prevents future dental problems that would otherwise occur as a result of the bone loss.

Bone grafting does more than simply replace eroded bone. Once applied, it will stimulate the growth of the jawbone, so the graft will be replaced with new, natural bone. Over the years, bone grafting has advanced in both procedures and in the materials used. Now, bone grafting takes much less time to heal, so the patient can return to a normal routine much earlier.

As previously mentioned, the loss of upper teeth can expose the sinus cavity and caused more advanced bone loss to occur. Fortunately, there is a treatment for this as well. When the upper back teeth have been lost, there will still be a layer of bone to separate the sinus cavity from the oral cavity, but this is an extremely thin and fragile layer of bone. It's far too thin to support a dental implant, so a sinus lift becomes necessary. There is a membrane that lines the sinus cavity and, in this procedure, that membrane is pushed back and away from the oral cavity. The exposed gap is filled with bone grafting material to help strengthen the upper jawbone. After the bone graft heals, implants can be inserted to protect the bone and restore chewing ability.

If patients act quickly and see a dentist as soon as they experience tooth loss, bone grafting and sinus lifting may not be necessary at all. Using digital imaging, such as that provided by a CT scanner, the dentist can get a detailed look at your oral cavity. This will help the dentist determine the status of your teeth, gums, and jawbone.

Through this examination it will be possible to determine if you can receive dental implants without a bone graft. However, timing is important, because bone loss can begin very quickly, after the loss of a tooth. The sooner you consult a dentist about your tooth loss, the more likely it will be that bone grafting can be avoided.

Dental Specialists You Can Trust

If you would like to know more about dental implants, sinus lifts or bone grafting in King of Prussia, PA, contact King of Prussia Periodontics & Dental Implants at www.kopperio.comThe practice is overseen by Dr. Marissa Crandall Cruz and Dr. Mana Nejadi. Dr, Cruz attended the University of Central Florida and Barry University in Miami, before graduating from Nova Southeastern University with a Doctor of Dental Medicine. She also participated in Kornberg School of Dentistry periodontology and oral implantology program at Temple University. There, Dr. Cruz received a second Master's degree in oral biology. Dr. Mana Nejadi attended the University of Pennsylvania School Of Dental Medicine, where she earned her dental degree and completed the three-year Periodontics, Implant Dentistry, and Esthetics specialty program. Dr. Nejadi remained at the University of Pennsylvania to take up the position of Clinical Assistant Professor to teach courses on periodontics and implant dentistry. Between 2013 and 2015, Dr. Nejadi was also the Director of the Predoctoral Periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania.

*Disclaimer: Though this is a sponsored post my opinion stays honest and is true to the best of my knowledge.
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