Jawbone Loss and Deterioration

 

Jawbone loss is surprisingly common, and it can lead to serious issues including inability to enunciate, difficulties chewing, and the appearance of facial collapse. A jawbone graft can help, but if possible, you should always take steps to avoid this situation. To that end, it’s important to understand the causes of jawbone deterioration. Here’s a look at some of the most prevalent issues.

Tooth Extractions

Unfortunately, extracting too many teeth can cause the jawbone to start to deteriorate. The jawbone needs to be used in order to thrive. When it’s not used, the immune system senses that it’s no longer a necessary part of the body, and it starts to break down the bone. That, in turn, leads to the loss of even more teeth.
If you lose a tooth due to an accident, that can affect the health of your jawbone in the same way. Additionally, if molars are removed, that can lead to larger sinus cavities in addition to missing jawbones.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is extremely common. In fact, according to the CDC, nearly half of Americans over the age of 40 suffer from some form of gum disease, and the majority of seniors are affected.
Gum disease which includes gingivitis and periodontal disease leads to the breakdown of the tissues that support your jawbone. This causes teeth to become loose and fall out, and ultimately, all of that encourages the jawbone to break down.

Dentures

Dentures don’t expressly cause your jawbone to deteriorate, but indirectly, they contribute to bone deterioration in this area. As explained above, when your jawbone isn’t being used, it starts to deteriorate. Dentures sit on top of your gums, and as a result, they don’t stimulate the jawbone in the same way that natural teeth do.

To prevent this effect, you may want to consider alternative prosthetics such as implants. Dental implants feature a small post that goes into your jawbone. When the bone ossifies around the implant, the jawbone reacts as if there’s a natural tooth in there. Your dentist can anchor a bridge or permanent dentures to implants. If you don’t have enough jawbone to support the implants, you may need a jawbone graft, but luckily, that’s a relatively straightforward jaw surgery.

Osteomyelitis

This is a bacterial infection. It affects the marrow of your bones, leads to inflammation in the area, and ultimately reduces the amount of blood that flows to that bone. To prevent the spread of the infection, you may need a jaw surgeon to remove some of the bone and replace it with healthy material from a bone graft.

Tumors

Unfortunately, if you have tumors in this part of your body, that can also lead to jawbone deterioration. This applies to both benign facial tumors and malignant mouth tumors. In both cases, a jaw surgeon may be able to remove the tumors and eventually strengthen the area through a jawbone graft.

If you’re worried about your jawbone for any reason, contact Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery to schedule an appointment. We help our patients with tooth extraction, facial trauma, sleep apnea, and a number of other issues.

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