Reasons for Jaw Bone Loss and Deterioration
The following are the most common causes for jaw bone deterioration and loss that may require a bone grafting procedure:
When an adult tooth is removed and not replaced, jaw bone deterioration may occur. Natural teeth are embedded in the jaw bone, and stimulate the jaw bone through activities such as chewing and biting. When teeth are missing, the alveolar bone, or the portion of the jaw bone that anchors the teeth in the mouth, no longer receives the necessary stimulation, and begins to break down, or resorb. The body no longer uses or “needs” the jaw bone, so it deteriorates and goes away.
The rate the bone deteriorates, as well as the amount of bone loss that occurs, varies greatly among individuals. However, most loss occurs within the first eighteen months following the extraction, and continues throughout life.
Periodontal diseases gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Periodontal disease affects one or more of the periodontal tissues: alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, cementum, or gingiva. While there are many diseases which affect the tooth-supporting structures, plaque-induced inflammatory lesions make up the majority of periodontal issues, and are divided into two categories: gingivitis and periodontitis. While gingivitis, the less serious of the diseases, may never progress into periodontitis, it always precedes periodontitis.
Dental plaque is the primary cause of gingivitis in genetically-susceptible individuals. Plaque is a sticky colorless film, composed primarily of food particles and various types of bacteria, which adhere to your teeth at and below the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth, even minutes after cleaning. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. Gums may become inflamed, red, swollen, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. If daily brushing and flossing are neglected, plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line.
Periodontitis is affected by bacteria that adhere to the tooth’s surface, along with an overly aggressive immune response to these bacteria. If gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorates. The progressive loss of this bone, the alveolar, can lead to loosening and subsequent loss of teeth.
Unanchored dentures, placed on top of the gum line, may cause destructive forces to the underlying alveolar bone. Over time, the bone may resorb and deteriorate. Because this type of denture relies on the bone to hold them in place, people often experience loosening of their dentures and problems eating and speaking. Eventually, bone loss may become so severe that dentures cannot be held in place even with strong adhesives. Proper denture care, repair, and refitting are essential to maintaining oral health.
With bridgework, the teeth on either side of the appliance maintain sufficient bone; however, bone loss may occur in the gap where the teeth are missing.
By completing a bone graft procedure, Dr. Morarend is able to restore bone function and growth.
When molars are removed from the upper jaw, air pressure from the air cavity in the maxilla (maxillary sinus), causes resorption of the bone that formerly helped the teeth in place. As a result, the sinuses become enlarged, a condition called hyperpneumatized sinus.
This condition usually develops over several years, and may result in insufficient bone for the placement of dental implants. Dr. Morarend can perform a procedure called a “sinus lift” that can treat enlarged sinuses.