Tooth Loss and Jawbone Resorption – Understanding the Connection

Did you know that living with tooth loss puts you at risk for jawbone resorption?

Most people don’t understand how the bone shrinks when a tooth is missing until they experience the issue themselves. This is unfortunate, as the effects of jawbone resorption — additional tooth loss and an aged, collapsed facial appearance — are preventable.

If you have missing teeth — or if you’re facing tooth loss — you’ll want to learn more about the best way to prevent this problem.

jawbone resorption tooth loss

How Tooth Loss Leads to Jawbone Resorption

When an adult tooth is lost or extracted and isn’t immediately replaced, bone tissue in the jaw begins to deteriorate.

The alveolar bone, or the part of the jawbone that holds the teeth in the mouth, breaks down because it no longer has the stimulation it needs to remain strong and healthy. The natural teeth have root structures that stimulate the jaw when you bite and chew. If a tooth is missing, this stimulation is gone.

How Jawbone Resorption Leads to Tooth Loss

Tooth loss doesn’t just give rise to jawbone resorption — the reverse is also often true. Bone loss in the jaw can result in more missing teeth.

When the jawbone is left to deteriorate after a tooth is lost or extracted, the nearby natural teeth start to become less stable. As the resorption progresses, these teeth are more likely to loosen and fall out.

How to Prevent Jawbone Resorption and Tooth Loss

The solution, in most cases, is to replace lost or extracted teeth with dental implants.

Like natural teeth, dental implants are embedded in the jawbone. Once placed, implants put a halt to resorption, as they provide stimulation for strong, healthy bone tissue growth. Dentures and bridges do not offer the same benefit — only dental implants work to stop jawbone deterioration.

Anyone healthy enough to undergo routine dental treatment can usually get dental implants. Sometimes, however, bone grafting is required to give the implants a stable foundation. This routine, in-office procedure is simply another step in the tooth replacement process.

It’s important to note that missing teeth aren’t the only cause of jawbone deterioration. If you want to prevent the problem, you need to adopt solid oral hygiene habits. Fail to brush and floss regularly, and you might develop gum disease — and that’s another key cause of bone loss in the jaw.

Do you have missing teeth? The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area for over a decade, can restore your smile and your jawbone stability.

Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, specialize in tooth replacement and have extensive expertise in bone grafting, dental implant surgery and related pre-prosthetic procedures. If you’re living with tooth loss and don’t want to suffer the effects of jawbone resorption, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule a consultation today.