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JAW BONE HEALTH
It’s important to have a healthy jaw bone. Without a healthy jaw bone, teeth may become loose or even start to fall out, and it will become impossible to anchor implants in your mouth. Additionally, if your jaw bone is not healthy, that can impact how your mouth functions and potentially lead to aesthetic issues or ill-fitting dentures. Luckily, a jaw surgeon may be able to help address this issue through bone grafting.
Jaw Bone Deterioration
Osteoporosis can cause issues with your jaw bone in addition to the other bones in your body. Because of this, women with osteoporosis often lose more teeth than individuals without this condition.
However, that’s not the only issue that affects the health of your jaw bone. When your teeth get pulled, your body intuitively starts to believe that it has no use for your jaw bone. As a result, your jaw bone starts deteriorating. This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle—you get a tooth extracted, the jaw bone senses it isn’t needed and starts to deteriorate, more teeth fall out, and the cycle continues.
Issues Related to Jawbone Loss
In addition to the issues outlined above, jaw bone loss can have other effects on your mouth. In particular, your facial profile may start to change. Your lips won’t have enough support, your cheeks may start sagging inward, and your features may look distorted or collapsed.
However, it doesn’t just have aesthetic effects. Patients who experience extreme jaw bone loss also have trouble speaking or eating. In many cases, dentures can help with both of these issues, but unfortunately, once someone experiences a lot of jaw bone loss, it becomes impossible to fit indentures. Luckily, a jaw surgeon can do a bone graft so that dentures are possible.
Protecting Your Jaw Health
There are ways that you can protect the health of your jaw. If possible, when you have an option between tooth extraction and a root canal, always opt for the root canal. Although that procedure tends to be more expensive, saving the tooth is worth it, and it helps protect the health of your mouth.
If you have to get a tooth extracted, talk with your jaw surgeon or dentist about putting in an implant. Because the jaw bone fuses around the implant, the bone continues to feel needed, and your immune system doesn’t kick into overdrive and try to break down the bone.
Eating a healthy diet also helps. Try to focus on lots of Vitamin D and calcium—they are both essential for bone health throughout your body. If you smoke, try to quit, and cut down on drinking if applicable.
If you have a risk of osteoporosis, make sure to get checked regularly. In addition to getting help from your doctor, you may be able to get help from your dentist. With a dental x-ray, most dentists are able to tell if you have warning signs of osteoporosis.
If you want to protect the health of your jaw and take care of the rest of your dental needs, contact us today. Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery is an oral and maxillofacial dental office with two convenient locations. Our jaw surgeon and dental specialists look forward to working with you.
How Does An Alveoloplasty Restore Jaw Bone Health?
An alveoloplasty is a procedure that smoothens and reshapes the jawbone after tooth extraction. When you have a tooth extracted, it often leaves behind uneven bumps within the socket that can make a proper fit for tooth restorations impossible.
When you try to place dentures or dental implants in this socket, it results in an improper fit that rubs against the socket, causes soreness, or is too loose and allows food particles to become trapped. Alveoloplasty also reduces bleeding and accelerates healing because stitches are placed in the socket unlike during many extractions.
When sutures aren’t used to close the wound after an extraction, the patient has to rely on the formation of a blood clot for proper healing. However, many things can dislodge a blood clot or one may never form in the first place.
This can lead to a painful condition called dry socket which increases the patient’s risk of infection and prolongs healing. Alveoloplasty greatly reduces a patient’s risk of developing a dry socket.
Another benefit of alveoloplasty is that it can repair bone damage after an extraction. When alveoloplasty is performed alongside a tooth extraction, it can shape the jawbone in a way that is more conducive to healing.
What To Expect During the Alveoplasty Process
Alveoloplasty can be performed alongside the tooth extraction or after the socket has fully healed. The dentist numbs the mouth with a local anesthetic or additional sedation as needed before cutting into the gums to access the jaw bone.
The jaw bone is then filed and reshaped using dental tools such as a bone file, chisel, or burr attached to a handheld dental drill. Debris from the filing will be irrigated with saline solution to keep the area clean and to wash away bone fragments.
The gums are reattached and stitched back into place typically with locking sutures to reduce bleeding. Dr. Abtin Shahriari may prescribe you painkillers or antibiotics if necessary and will provide you with aftercare instructions.
What To Expect After Alveoloplasty
Recovery is similar to tooth extraction aftercare. After the procedure, gauze will be placed in the socket and you will bite down on them to help stop the bleeding. Pain can be expected for the first week and can be relieved with the use of prescription painkillers or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Swelling is also normal for the first 24 hours and will reduce each day but last for up to a week. To prevent infection, you may be prescribed an antibacterial mouthwash that you will rinse your mouth with. For the first few days, you’ll need to stick to a diet of soft foods, avoid hot foods and liquids, and try not to eat foods that are spicy or citrusy.
Bleeding and swelling should go down after the first 24 hours. Keep your head elevated and use a cold compress to reduce the swelling. You can swish around a warm saltwater solution to keep your mouth clean.
You should not eat hard foods which can disturb the site of the extraction and you should also not suck anything through a straw which can worsen the bleeding. It will take several weeks to completely heal but if you follow these instructions and keep your mouth clean. Wait 24 hours before brushing your teeth or using the prescribed mouthwash.