The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health
When one or more teeth are missing it can lead to bone loss at the site of the gap. This deterioration of the jaw bone can lead to additional problems, both with your overall health and your appearance. You may experience pain, problems with your remaining teeth, altered facial appearance, and eventually even the inability to eat and/or speak normally.
In the same way that muscles are maintained through exercise, bone tissue is maintained through 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, (the portion of the jaw bone that anchors the teeth within the mouth) no longer receives the necessary stimulation it needs. It therefore begins to resorb, or break down. The body receives the message that it no longer “needs” or uses the jaw bone, leading to deterioration.
Potential Consequences of Tooth and Jaw Bone Loss
- Problems with remaining teeth, including misalignment, drifting, loosening, and loss
- Collapsed facial profile
- 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