The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health

When one or more teeth are missing it can lead to bone loss at the site in question. This loss of jaw bone can develop into additional problems, both with your appearance and your overall health. You may experience pain, problems with your remaining teeth, difficulty eating, altered facial appearance, and sometimes altered speech.

In the same way that muscles are maintained through exercise, bone tissue is maintained by use. Natural teeth are attached to the jaw bone and stimulate the jaw bone to be maintained through activities such as chewing and normal function. When teeth are missing, the alveolar bone, or the portion of the jaw bone that the teeth are attached to in the mouth, no longer receives the necessary stimulation it needs to be maintained. The bone then begins to break down, or resorb. The body no longer uses or “needs” the jaw bone, so it deteriorates.

Potential Consequences of Tooth and Jaw bone Loss

  • Problems with remaining teeth – including misalignment, drifting, loosening, and loss
  • Collapsed facial profile
  • Limited lip support
  • Skin wrinkling around the mouth
  • Jaw (TMJ or temporomandibular joint) pain, facial pain, and headaches
  • Altered speech and difficulty communicating
  • Inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly
  • Sinus expansion or pnuematization
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