Bone Loss – Dental Effects

Causes of Bone Loss

Bone loss that occurs as a result of dental issues is commonly due to a of loss of teeth and ongoing periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when there is bone loss around the teeth.  If gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses to periodontitis.

When peridontitis is ongoing or progresses to moderate or severe periodontitis, the amount of bone lost, has serious effects. Infections may also spread and cause bone loss.

Another cause of bone loss is leaving the space where you have lost a tooth, empty.  When you lose a tooth and do not replace it with a dental implant for example, the bone begins to shrink.  The shrinking occurs because the bone is no longer being stimulated by pressure that occurs from chewing.  Up to 25% of bone may be lost in the first year alone due to shrinking or resorption.

Effects of Bone Loss

When you lose a significant amount of bone around your teeth and jaws, the appearance of your face begins to change.  Your face may take on a sunken look because a missing tooth was never replaced in that area.

When a tooth is lost, it creates an empty space and nearby teeth will drift into that space.  Over time, the alignment of your teeth may change due to drifting teeth.  When you lose a tooth, the tooth opposite the now empty area, will continue to erupt more.  It does this because there is no tooth above or below it, to stop it from erupting.  This is called super eruption.  All of these changes to your jaw and nearby teeth can affect the appearance of your smile.

What Can You Do?

If bone loss occurs due to improper oral hygiene care, you can stop it with proper hygiene care at home and at your dental office.  Ensure that you are seen frequently by your dentist and hygienist and that you have regular dental exams.  Preventive care will help to stop gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis.

If you have a lost a tooth and have an empty space in your mouth, talk to your dental about dental implants or other procedures that can help to close the space.

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