Jaw & Gum Resorption
Bone resorption is a common process that is characterized by bone and gum tissue loss and follows tooth loss or advanced periodontitis. At Tualatin Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer you various treatment for jawbone and gum deterioration.
Why Bone Resorption Occurs
Bones remain strong because of repeated physical stimulus. In case of your jawbone, that involves the force exerted on your tooth by its chewing and biting motion that travels to the jaw. However, when the tooth is lost, the stimulus is gone, and the brain signals the body to break down and absorb the jawbone, as its purpose has been served.
This is why jaw resorption is commonly associated with natural tooth loss or tooth extraction. About 25 percent of the bone in that area may be resorped in one year, following a tooth extraction. Beyond tooth loss, certain other medical condition may also cause tooth loss.
Bone resorption and gum recession is a common symptom of gum disease or periodontitis. Additionally, conditions like osteoporosis, which are marked with weak, brittle, low-density bones, can also negatively impact he jawbone. Treatment or removal of a large tumor in the face may also require removal of some of the jaw.
Some orthodontic patients also experience minor bone loss around the tooth that has been treated, though the bone may recover several months after the treatment.
Consequences of Bone Resorption
The loss of your alveolar ridge, which is the bony ridge that supports the tooth sockets, brings you chin closer to your nose, causing your lips to get puckered in and your jaw to jut out. You will also form deep wrinkles around the mouth and sagging skin around your cheek. The structural facial collapse can make a person look several years older.
A person who has low jawbone density may be unable to get dental implants in the future, as well.
Replacing your teeth with full or partial dentures does not help solve problems as these devices do not exert enough pressure on the jawbone compared to your teeth. In fact, the pressure is as low as 10 percent of your natural teeth.
Extraction of molars in the upper jaw can cause further resorption of the jaw since the bone in the upper arch is already less dense than the bone in the lower arch. It also causes expansion of the sinus cavity, which can result in increased pressure, causing resorption of the bone lining the sinuses.
Preventing Jawbone Resorption
Bone resorption can be stopped by implanting a replacement tooth with a root on the place where the natural tooth used to be. This should be done immediately after tooth extraction by replacing the tooth with dental implants.
A single tooth implant can provide a chewing force of 99 percent of your natural bite.
If the patient decided to not get a dental implant immediately after extraction, it is best to fill the tooth socket with a bone graft, which can prevent bone reabsorption.
Treatment for Jawbone Resorption
If you have missing teeth and have been using dentures for a long time, chances are that a lot of your jawbone density has already been lost. Fortunately, we have treatment options for that too.
In case you need to have dental implants in the future, getting a bone graft is a good option. To recover the height and width of the alveolar ridge to support the tooth, you need to graft bone material into your jawbone. The bone material can be taken from another part of your body, from an animal or made from synthetic bone-like material. When implanted in your jawbone, it stimulates bone growth. Once your jawbone has sufficient density, we can perform dental implant surgery on it.
If you upper jawbone has low density, Dr. Emerson Rowley, DMD may also recommend a sinus lift.
Even though the impact of jaw resorption seems severe, with some minimally-invasive surgery options, we can help your jaw revert to its natural, healthier state. If you are considering dental implants, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment by calling us at (503) 878-7474 today.