There have been many great advances in dentistry with new and modern practices. Some of these advances have even helped with our general life expectancy and quality of life. But when it comes to getting older, or some conditions in our medical history, we might often then lose some of our teeth. After a significant amount of time with the loss of teeth, there will be bone loss and with modern dentistry it can be reversed.
When we lose teeth for various reasons, the space where the tooth previously was, loses its stimulation and blood flow. In order to have a healthy jaw, it needs the constant stimulation of every day chewing. This creates stimulation to the muscles around the bone, and keeps the bone healthy as well. So when we lose our teeth, and don’t immediately have a graft or dental implant installed, that current structure might collapse due to atrophy. This type of bone loss was ignored in the past by traditional dentistry.
With the loss of teeth, the bone loss first starts with a decrease in width. This is a 25% decrease in width during the first year, and an inch decrease in height following multiple extractions. If a denture or partial is given, this can cause discomfort and pain because the thin gum tissue is laying over a narrow bone.
Nerves in the lower jaw that were previously protected by bone, end up becoming exposed and then sit on top of the ridge, right under the denture. This results in acute pain and/or temporary to permanent sensation loss or feeling. If you have bone loss in the upper jaw, it might cause pain and increase the chances of the upper denture moving during eating. Chewing with a denture that’s moving or is wrongly fitted does not cause stimulation, but instead reduces the blood supply and increases the chances or more bone loss.
Cosmetic Effects of Tooth/Bone Loss
The effects of bone loss are not only detrimental to your jaw, but it does cause your facial appearance to change. The loss of teeth can actually add a decade or more years to the face. Your facial height decreases, and causes several facial changes. With the loss of vertical bone, the bite relationship diminishes and as a result, the chin rotates forward giving a poorer appearance. It also causes the patient to look like they’re constantly frowning. Then the muscle that is lost, start to show in the upper lip and creates more long lines around the mouth, and a deepening of the groove next to the nose.
A recent study of denture wearers found that almost half showed a low chewing performance, which resulted in lower intakes of fruits and vegetables. Those patients also took significantly more medications compared to those with superior chewing ability, and almost 30% were taking medications for stomach or intestinal disorders. The study provides several reports that suggest that compromised dental function results in poor swallowing and chewing performance. This also results in illness favoring, debilitation, negative effects on overall health, and shortened life expectancy.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Now that modern dentists know about bone loss after tooth loss or removal, the main procedure to fix the gap where the tooth has been lost, is dental implants. When the dental implants are going to be surgically placed, sometimes a bone graft is need for those areas with bone loss or in the sinus cavity. After the bone grafting is successful, they install the post directly into the jaw bone. This stimulates bone growth and blood supply, and ultimately improves all of the disadvantages from bone loss.
So if you or anyone in your family have had tooth removal and/or loss, and are interested in dental implants, please contact us at The Silberg Center for Dental Science. Dr. Silberg can address any of your needs and get you on your way back to a healthy, beautiful smile.