The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health
When one or more teeth are missing it can lead to bone loss at these sites. 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, altered appearance, and eventually it can even effect speech and/or your ability to eat normally.
In the same way that muscles are maintained through exercise, bone tissue can be thought of as maintained by use. Natural teeth are embedded in the jaw bone and stimulate the jaw bone through activities such as chewing and biting. When teeth are missing, the alveolar bone, or the portion of the jaw bone that anchors the teeth into the mouth, no longer receives the necessary stimulation it needs and begins to break down, or resorb. The body no longer uses or “needs” the jaw bone, so it can deteriorate.
Potential Consequences of Tooth and Jaw Bone Loss
- Problems with remaining teeth, including misalignment, drifting, loosening, and loss of other teeth
- Collapsed facial profile / appearance
- Limited lip support
- Skin wrinkling around the mouth
- Distortion of other facial features
- Jaw (TMJ or temporomandibular joint) pain, facial pain, and headaches
- Difficulty speaking and communicating
- Inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly and painlessly
- Sinus expansion