3 Causes Of Alveolar Bone Loss – And Potential Treatments

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Different areas of the jawbone serve different purposes. The alveolar bone is the portion containing the sockets that hold your teeth. Loss of alveolar bone can weaken the stability of the teeth and cause misalignments and even potential tooth loss. Weakened bone also makes it harder to get certain dental replacements and can start to make our face look sunken in that area.

Treatment for alveolar bone loss depends on the severity and cause of the problem. Here are a few of the ways your dentist, orthodontist, and/or cosmetic dentistry specialist can help.

General Treatment: Bone Graft

The general treatment for the bone loss itself is a bone graft. The graft uses bone from elsewhere in your mouth – usually, part of a healthier section of jawbone – or synesthetic or bovine material. The donor or graft material is inserted where the bone is missing and left to heal. During healing, the two segments will heal together to form one part.

A bone graft won't cure any underlying causes of the bone loss but is often the final step of the treatment process once the contributing cause has been treated. An exception would be bone loss due to a systemic illness, which will likely need continued monitoring and further bone grafts in the future.

Misaligned Teeth: Orthodontics

Teeth roots are constantly shifting slightly. The motion isn't enough for you to detect but is enough to stimulate the surrounding bone and tissue cells. This stimulation plays a vital role in promoting jawbone loss. So a lack of that motion could cause an onset of bone deterioration.

Misaligned teeth can result in this lack of proper motion and deteriorating bone. A tooth that is leaning too far in any direction isn't properly in its socket and thus isn't providing an evenly distributed stimulation. The misaligned teeth also cause bite issues and put excess pressure on some teeth, which can also lead to bone deterioration.

Orthodontic treatment can help fix this problem. If the bone loss is relatively mild, the orthodontics alone might be enough treatment for your mouth. Severe bone loss might require a graft ahead of the orthodontics.

Missing Tooth: Dental Implant

Loss of a tooth, either due to decay, trauma, or existing bone loss, is one of the most common causes of alveolar bone loss. The complete absence of stimulation can send the bone's health downhill fairly quickly and the rate of bone loss can make neighboring teeth vulnerable to loosening.

If you have recently lost a tooth or are facing an extraction, ask your dentist whether you are a candidate for a dental implant. A dental implant is the only type of dental replacement that has a jawbone-implanted root, which provides the motion and stimulation similar to a natural tooth. Replacements like dentures and bridges don't offer stimulation and your bone can continue to deteriorate despite the fact that an artificial tooth is in place.

To learn more, contact an orthodontist office like Waterford Dental