Bone loss in teeth can drastically change an individual’s aesthetics and cause serious damages to overall dental health. Severe cases could even make it difficult for dentists to restore the natural look of the teeth of the patient. Dentists suggest that tooth implants have a high success rate compared to other treatments.
Defining Bone Loss in Teeth
According to dental specialists, bone loss in teeth is the common result of chronic periodontitis. In this case, the bacteria will start to build up in the teeth and gums and cause tooth decay. Once the bacteria has manifested itself unto the jawbone, it eats away all the periodontal links from tooth to the bone. However, other factors also contribute to this oral health problem, the immune system, for example, has been linked to bone loss multiple times.
Causes of Bone Loss
The root cause of bone loss is losing teeth. Typically, the bones are strengthened by the force and consistency of chewing and biting. Once the tooth went missing, the body will find a way to resorb the inactive bone, hence, resulting in bone loss. Research shows that at least 25% of the bone goes missing a year after tooth loss and it continues on until the bone is completely gone.
Here are some of the reasons why bone loss in teeth usually occur:
- Periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria build-up that slowly destroys the gum and all the surrounding dental parts. This disease could greatly contribute to bone loss as it affects multiple periodontal tissues such as cementum, alveolar bone, and periodontal ligament.
- Poor dentures or bridgework. Unsecured and unsupported dentures are often placed on top of the gums making the stimulation to the bones impossible. Subsequently, the insufficiency of stimulation will cause the bone to decline.
- Injuries. When an event arises causing accidents that may result in losing teeth, stimulating of the bone will automatically stop. These incidents often include injuries causing the tooth to get knocked out of its place.
- Misalignment. Each of our teeth provides support to each other, once the teeth get out of their original position, the bone stimulation gets affected therefore resulting in bone loss.
- Osteomyelitis. This is a disease caused by bacterial infection as well. When the gums and jaw start to get inflamed, the blood supply of the bone will decrease. This may be an irreversible situation and a bone graft might be recommended followed by dental implants.
- Face tumors. Once a face tumor gets incredibly big and noticeable, it might get in contact with the jaw. Oftentimes, this results in surgery that aims to remove a part of the jawbone. After the procedure, a bone grafting treatment may follow to keep the support system intact.
- Birth defects. Some bone loss problems start as early as childhood. This is one of the reasons why dental practitioners suggest that children must visit a dentist regularly as well. Oral health should be one of the topmost priorities of parents.
- Bone loss caused by the immune system. Doctors believe that our immune system is also responsible for bone loss. Studies show that the toxic components brought by bacteria puncture the junctional epithelium which causes the destruction of the bone and all other tissues surrounding the teeth. The immune system can either ignore or react to the bacteria. If in case it chooses to react, expect the occurrence of bone loss in teeth.
Symptoms of Bone Loss
Bone loss in teeth can be easily detected by dental x-ray machines. However, there are several signs that a patient might experience that may conclude to bone loss. Listed below are the most common signs:
- Swelling or puffed up gums
- Purple or reddish gums
- Gum bleeding
- Bleeding while brushing the teeth
- Painful flossing
- Unpleasant breath odor
- Pus in gums
- Feeling hurt when chewing
- Teeth starting to have spaces in between
- Receding gums
- Changes in chewing or biting patterns
If you suspect that you are suffering from bone loss, visit your dentist immediately. A dental practitioner will try to save and restore your natural teeth, jaw, and gum functions, however, if the case gets extremely bad, sadly, tooth extraction will be the only option.
Treatments for Bone Loss
Dentists will lay out different options to treat your dental health problem according to your needs. Each treatment will vary and the kind of procedure that you will have to go through will rely on your actual dental condition.
- Bone or gum graft. This process aims to heal and revive the affected bone and gum tissues.
- Composite bonding. Composite bonding is an advanced dental care procedure to restore the teeth.
- Dental implants. This will be executed if the tooth roots are affected and went missing.
- Porcelain addition. To fill in the gaps that occurred between the teeth.
- Artificial gums. To serve as a temporary solution to missing gum tissues.
- Augmentation. Dental care surgery treatment that pursues to fix the ridge by means of adding grafted bone tissues.