What Causes Bone Loss in the Jaw?

May 24, 2024

Did you know that your bones are constantly rebuilding themselves? Your body continuously removes old bone tissue through a process known as resorption and replaces it with new, stronger bone. Unfortunately, some people are not able to replace bone tissue as quickly as it is removed. When that happens, it is called bone loss, and it can be a very serious issue. Deterioration of the bones makes them more fragile and more likely to be broken, chipped, or cracked. Bone loss can affect any bone in the body, including the jaw. Many factors can lead to bone loss in the jaw; here are some of the most common:

Tooth Loss or Removal

Your teeth and their roots actually provide a great deal of support to your jawbones and they also encourage your body to replace lost bone tissue in the area. If teeth are lost or removed, it can lead to bone loss in the jaw. Studies have shown that, after a tooth extraction, up to 30% of the surrounding jawbone tissue can be lost in the first year alone, and the bone loss process continues over time.

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

Many people grind or clench their teeth compulsively, especially when they are sleeping. This condition, known as bruxism, puts excessive pressure on the jawbone and can lead to its deterioration over time.

Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis and periodontitis are collectively known as periodontal disease, more commonly referred to as gum disease. These conditions involve an ongoing bacterial infection of the gum tissue that causes the gums to become irritated and inflamed. As gum disease progresses, it causes the gum tissue to recede, exposing the tooth roots or even the jawbone. Your body’s immune response to persistent gum infections can deteriorate the jawbone, and if gum disease causes the teeth to fall out, it will lead to even more bone loss in the jaw.

Jaw Injuries and Trauma

Trauma to the mouth can cause the jawbone to break or fracture, and it may also knock out some teeth. If the injury does not heal correctly, it can cause significant bone loss in the jaw, and any missing teeth will lead to continuing jawbone deterioration over time.

Treating Bone Loss in the Jaw

In many cases, bone loss in the jaw can be treated using a bone graft. In this procedure, bone is removed from other areas of the body and is replanted in the affected region. Over time, the graft will fuse with the jawbone, giving it the support it needs. Dental implants can also be used to replace missing teeth and provide support for the jawbone. Once a dental implant is installed, it actually encourages the body to rebuild lost bone tissue!

Dental Implants in Chicago

If you are experiencing bone loss in the jaw, dental implants or bone grafting could be the answer. At American Dental, we employ some of the best implant dentists in Chicago, and we can advise you on the best way to treat your bone loss. Call us at (773) 284-1645 or request an appointment online at any of our 8 locations in the Chicago area.

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