The Relationship Between Tooth Loss and Bone Loss

Missing teeth can lead to psychological, functional and health-related drawbacks. After losing one or more teeth, your chewing, speech and smile aesthetics can be compromised. However, there is another less obvious consequence of missing teeth – and one that deserves your attention. Regardless of where your missing tooth is in your mouth, bone loss will result if the tooth is not replaced with a dental implant.

There is a close relationship between a tooth and its surrounding bone that continues throughout life. When a tooth is lost (due to trauma, decay or disease), the surrounding bone no longer gets stimulated by the tooth root. Without proper stimulation, the bone loses density and dimension. In other words, the width and height of the alveolar bone diminishes. This loss of bone continues to progress as long as there is no tooth root to stimulate the jawbone. In fact, a lower jaw that may begin at two inches in height can atrophy to less than one-quarter of an inch over time. This can alter one’s appearance by causing the lower portion of the face to appear hallowed or sunken, which is also referred to as premature facial aging.

Dental Implants Solve the Problem 

Modern dentistry offers a way to protect yourself from the progressive bone loss after missing teeth. Dental implants involve the surgical placement of a titanium post into the jawbone. Once healed and fused to the bone, the implant acts as your artificial tooth root. With replacement teeth on top, either a crown or overdentures, the surrounding bone can now be stimulated and the strength and integrity of the bone is preserved.

While dentures can offer a valued solution to replacing the aesthetics and function of your smile after missing teeth, if they are not secured by dental implants, you are still vulnerable to bone loss. This is the reason that many denture wearers need periodic denture adjustments or denture relines as the shape and structure of their bone changes over time.

If you have missing teeth, consider dental implants from Park South Dentistry. We want to help you regain a beautiful smile that provides long-term stability and optimal function.

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