Dental bone loss also referred to as resorption, is a condition outlined by the loss of jawbone density. This usually occurs in the region around teeth or the root of a tooth. Jawbone loss is not an insignificant condition and it demands immediate dental care to prevent further complications and other health issues.
Bone loss around the jaw is more common than you might think. It's not a condition solely associated with age. There are many factors that lead to bone loss, such as poor oral and overall health, osteoporosis, etc.
In the following guide, we will check out in greater detail what bone loss is, what causes it, how to prevent it and how dentists can help with the condition.
What is bone loss in teeth?
Good oral health is one of the pillars of sustaining overall long-term health. Did you know that our natural teeth stimulate bone growth and that chewing and biting preserve bone. And that is only possible when you maintain good oral health and keep your teeth in good shape. If you have missing or loose teeth, the bone in that area doesn't get the same stimulation level.
Over time, this can lead to the disintegration of the bone, which is a process referred to as bone resorption. Gum disease or periodontal disease are two more conditions that contribute to the issue. It can lead to bone loss due to teeth loss or bacteria gradually deteriorating the surrounding jawbone and periodontal ligaments connecting teeth to the bone.
Poor dental bone health is problematic on its own, but it also opens the door to a host of other negative conditions. It can force some lifestyle changes because it makes eating and even speaking more difficult. In some cases, bone loss contributes to more wrinkles around the lips, which can make you look older. Perhaps the worst aspect is that bone loss is one of the conditions linked to great pain and discomfort in the
What are the symptoms of bone loss?
People suffering from bone loss usually experience a few warning signs in the teeth and mouth before the condition fully manifests itself.
- Teeth become loose and shifty
- Gums start bleeding
- There is sharp sudden pain from time to time
- Increase in tooth sensitivity
- Bad breath
The more of these symptoms an individual experiences, the better it is for them to consult their oral care practitioner.
The most common causes of dental bone loss
Doctors have identified what causes bone loss in individuals. Some of the causes are quite common and should be regarded with utmost care and attention.
- Missing teeth - this is by far one of the most common causes of jawbone issues. Having all teeth in place stimulates the jawbone during the process of chewing. However, when even one tooth is missing, the jawbone beneath and above will start receding. At the same time, surrounding teeth get more pressure, which causes them to shift around. This increases the odds of developing gum disease and a host of other dental problems.
- Gum disease - gum disease on its own is a leading cause of gingivitis and periodontitis. What these conditions essentially lead to is a loss of soft tissue around the teeth. Bacteria in the area eat away at the bone and the surrounding tissues that connect the tooth to it. Later on, the loss of other supportive structures in the affected area greatly increases the chance of losing a tooth.
- Misaligned teeth - when teeth are misaligned, it leads to problems with chewing. Some parts of the mouth receive more pressure than others, and the stimulus to the bone is not equal. When that happens, healthy bones deteriorate over time and can result in the loss of teeth due to problems with the bone structure.
- Lack of proper dental hygiene - good oral care is absolutely essential for preventing bone loss and other dental problems. If you don't brush your teeth often with fluoride toothpaste, you are at a higher risk of dental bone loss among other unpleasant conditions.
Preventing dental bone loss - at home and with the aid of a dentist
You can take some easy steps to prevent jawbone loss at home and with the aid of your dentist.
Steps to reduce and slow down bone loss in teeth naturally
- Make some dietary adjustments - the very first thing you ought can do starting today is to evaluate what you eat. Diet impacts dental health in many ways. One obvious step in the right direction would be to get more calcium in your diet. A diet rich in calcium, for example including dairy products like cheese, milk and yoghurt can greatly increase bone density and boost your health. In case you are lactose intolerant, nuts and seeds like almonds, sesame, chia and poppy are great sources of calcium. Salmon and sardines can strengthen your bones as well.
- Improve Vitamin D intake - Vitamin D is essential as it helps your body absorb calcium and other essential nutrients required for strong bones. If you believe you have Vitamin D deficiency, you should talk to your healthcare provider about what options there are to fix these discrepancies.
- Maintain good oral hygiene - to help prevent any dental issues, you need to stay on top of dental hygiene. You will have healthy teeth if you brush and floss daily and visit your dentist every few months for a check-up.
- Stretch your jaw muscles - there are some exercises you can do for your jaw, in order to strengthen the muscles in the area. Just sit comfortably and open your mouth as wide as you can without pain and pressure. Hold this position for about 5 breaths and then release your jaw. Repeat this 10 times and you have yourself a nice jaw exercise.
How a dentist can help
- Bone grafting - dental bone grafting is a treatment that works in cases where the bone has been lost entirely. It creates a new bone surface that is sufficient for a dental implant. This surgical procedure aims to replace the missing bone and help the jaw regenerate some bone tissue. A dentist will typically resort to bone grafting procedures along with implants for the effective treatment of individuals with periodontal disease.
- Composite bonding - one of the effects of bone loss in teeth is that black triangles and holes show in the spaces of the affected teeth. Dentists use composite bonding to resolve this issue. It reshapes the teeth and the space between them, which has a notable aesthetic effect.
- Ridge augmentation - in order to restore the ridge to its proper shape and height, ridge augmentation is a surgical procedure that the dentist can go for.
- Replacement of missing teeth - because losing a tooth introduces such a high risk of jawbone problems, dentists often recommend replacing any missing teeth soon after that. Dental implants are the go-to solution for replacing missing teeth. They mimic the stimulation of the bone of existing teeth and make bone regeneration possible. The procedure itself usually includes a titanium post that is located below the gum line. The bone cells can reattach themselves there and begin the process of rebuilding bone mass.
- Guided bone regeneration - a staple of implant dentistry, guided bone regeneration improves the growth of new bone around a missing tooth. The dentist needs to evaluate the area of your missing tooth to ensure you are a good candidate for the procedure. It is often times used in conjunction with dentures and implants, in order to ensure the best outcome.
- Gingivitis treatment - the first stage of gum disease begins with gingivitis. That is the stage it is mostly reversible in and when professional dental aid can help. Removing the plaque in the gum line that is causing inflammation is the first order of business. For deep-seated plaque, the dentist can assign a professional cleaning treatment. This is a procedure that involves cleaning the root surfaces just below the gum line. With regular dental cleaning, bacteria will be prevented from getting stuck in the gumline and causing further trouble, which can otherwise lead to severe cases, like rotten teeth.
Can bone loss in the jaw be reversed?
The good news is that you can stop bone loss and reverse the condition with the appropriate treatments. One of the most common dental techniques for the job is bone grafting. This treatment creates a new bone surface with the aid of dental implants. Bone grafting works with different materials, depending on your needs and requirements.
How can I increase my jaw bone density?
There are several steps you can take in that regard. Eating a healthy diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D is a good start. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat meat and dairy products to get all of the important nutrients. Stop smoking, as it can lead to various dental issues. Make an appointment with your dentist every six months or so for a regular checkup. Ensure that you maintain proper oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
Why am I losing bone in my jaw?
Losing a tooth is one of the most common reasons to lose bone in the jaw. Because teeth create even pressure in the mouth, losing one or more can lead to loss of bone in the area that is not getting stimulation. If a tooth is removed and not replaced, it can lead to bone loss over time and more serious complications, if left untreated.
Can you regrow bone in your jaw?
Eating well is one of the best ways to regrow bone naturally. Calcium is essential for bone growth and getting an adequate intake of it should be a priority. You will find plenty of calcium content in dairy products, milk and leafy greens. Additionally, Vitamin D is another nutrient you should get plenty of. It comes with exposing your skin to sunlight, but if you have deficiencies, you should speak to your doctor about getting the necessary supplements.