Missing Teeth and Bone Loss
Missing teeth is quite common and it is one of the most common dental issues that dentists around the world deal with. Although missing teeth is quite common and it is easily treatable, bone loss is a bigger issue that you need to watch out for.
Missing or damaged teeth strip the underlying bone of natural support and stimulation, resulting in weakening of the bone. The more bone you lose, the harder (and costlier) it will be to treat later on. Here at Smile Family Dentistry, we can help you treat your missing teeth before they impact other parts of the mouth.
What Causes Missing Teeth?
Several factors can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease is a big contributor to missing teeth if left untreated. The more inflamed your gums become, the infection will start to affect the bone itself, and your tooth may fall out. If you experience bleeding or swelling of your gums, or you find blood on your toothbrush, visit your dentist in suspicion of gum disease, as this is something that should be treated as early as possible.
Another major reason for missing teeth is genetics. Some people simply have better teeth and better dental systems than others. Some congenital conditions from birth lead to certain teeth never forming in the first place.
Cavities and injuries can affect your teeth to the point of loss. If you leave a cavity for too long, then the tooth may just fall out. If your tooth falls out because of an injury or bump, then you should get it treated immediately, even if it does not hurt.
How Do Missing Teeth Cause Bone Loss?
Basically, your teeth act as a support system for your entire jaw. The more you chew and bite, the more your jaw bone is stimulated and healthy. However, if your tooth falls out, then your jaw loses this stimulation and becomes weaker over time. Eventually, your jaw shrinks and will look as if it were sucked in.
Bone loss will affect the way you look. Your jaw and cheeks will look different and you will look older. In just one year, an untreated missing tooth can lead to 25 percent loss of jaw bone.
How To Treat Bone Loss and Missing Teeth
Thankfully, with the marvel of modern medicine, you can easily treat your missing teeth and prevent bone loss. The most important method of treating bone loss is bone grafting. Bone grafting works similar to hair regrowth, by harvesting bone tissue from other parts and then infusing it with the part of your jaw that is missing bone.
There are two types of bone grafting to add volume to your jaw: preventative bone grafting, which is done after a tooth is extracted or goes missing to prevent loss of bone, and regenerative bone grafting, which restimulates bone growth in your jaw after the loss has already occurred.
Dental implants are another solution that usually comes after grafting. Dental implants can replace missing teeth as well as their roots. Not only will implants help the condition of your jaw, but they will also help your appearance and bring back your beautiful smile.
Overall, bone loss and missing teeth should never be left untreated or brushed off. By letting a missing or damaged tooth stay the way it is, you can possibly endanger your dental health down the line. This is why visiting your dentist a couple of times a year is a must. At Smile Family Dentistry, we know how important your oral health is and that is why we provide the highest level of care to all our patients. To book an appointment with us, contact us at 925-825-1130.