Is Dental Bone Loss Serious?


The most typical cause of dental bone loss is the absence of a natural tooth or several natural teeth that have not been replaced, though there are other causes as well. When tooth roots are embedded in the bone in the jaw, they stimulate the growth and health of the bone with basic, everyday facial movements like chewing, biting, and talking. Without these roots to stimulate the bone, the body perceives that the bone is unneeded and resorbs its tissue to be used elsewhere in the body. Once a tooth has been removed or fallen out, approximately 25% of the bone tissue in that area will be lost within a year, and the bone will continue to deteriorate over time. Bone loss can be slowed and even prevented, and when significant bone loss has occurred, bone can usually be regenerated or repaired with surgical treatments like bone grafts. The specific treatment for bone loss will depend on its cause and surrounding symptoms, and bone loss should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent an avalanche of destructive side effects.


Sometimes, teeth are extracted by a dentist; when these teeth aren’t promptly replaced with dental implants, which stimulate the bone and encourage its strength and stability, the bone that once supported them gradually deteriorates. Sometimes, teeth fall out because of advanced gum disease, and the effects on the bone are the same, though the gum disease must be addressed and repaired before implants can be placed. Gum disease is caused by the accumulation of bacterial plaque on the surfaces of the teeth, especially along the gum line, which occurs most often because of improper oral hygiene. When plaque accumulates and isn’t properly cleaned away, it hardens into a calcified substance called tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional using specialized clinical tools, and when it isn’t removed, it irritates and inflames the gums, causing them to loosen away from the teeth and encourage the accumulation of even more plaque and tartar, which causes even more damage to the oral tissues. If periodontal disease is left untreated, the natural teeth will loosen and eventually fall out, and the bone in the area will deteriorate. This bone deterioration can cause adjacent teeth to move, loosen, and even fall out, which can continue and cause all the teeth in either row or both rows to fall out and a majority of the bone to resorb.


When bone loss occurs because of trauma or injury, treatment will address the entirety of the injury and will be planned accordingly. In general, solutions or treatment for dental bone loss will depend on the cause and surrounding circumstances. Strong home hygiene and regular dental care will always help prevent or slow bone loss, and when bone loss is significant, dentists will usually recommend bone regeneration therapies, like bone grafts, before dental implants can be placed. While these ancillary procedures add to the overall treatment time for dental implants, they are crucial to the long-term success of the implants, which are designed to stimulate the bone just as a natural tooth would, helping to keep it vital and strong. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants as soon as possible is the optimal way to prevent bone loss and keep it from becoming seriously destructive.

What Causes Bone Loss