The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health
When one or more teeth are missing, it can lead to jawbone loss in the area of the missing teeth. This loss of jawbone can develop into additional problems, both with your appearance and your overall health. You may experience pain, problems with your remaining teeth, and altered facial appearance. Eventually, your ability to speak and eat normally may be significantly compromised.
In the same way that muscles are maintained through exercise, bone volume and density is maintained by use. Natural teeth are embedded in the jawbone, and stimulate the jawbone through activities such as biting and chewing. When teeth are lost, the portion of the jawbone that anchors the teeth (i.e. the alveolar bone) no longer receives the necessary stimulation required for its maintenance. This “alveolar” bone then begins to break down, or resorb, since the body is no longer utilizing it.
Potential Consequences of Tooth and Jawbone Loss
- Problems with remaining teeth, including misalignment, drifting, tipping forward, loosening, and ultimately tooth loss
- Collapsed facial profile
- Inadequate lip support
- A premature increase in wrinkling of the skin around the mouth
- Distortion of other facial features
- Jaw joint (TMJ) pain, facial pain, and headaches
- Difficulty speaking
- Inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly and painlessly
- Sinus expansion resulting in further reduction of bone volume