The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health
When one or more teeth are missing, it can lead to jawbone loss at the site of the gap. 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, and eventually even the inability to speak and eat normally.
In that same way that muscles are maintained through exercise, bone tissue is maintained by use. Natural teeth are embedded in the jawbone, and stimulate the jawbone through activities such as chewing. When teeth are missing, the alveolar bone, or the portion of the jawbone that holds the teeth, no longer receives the necessary stimulation, and begins to shrink, or resorb. The body no longer uses or “needs” the bone, so it goes away.
Potential Consequences of Tooth and Jawbone Loss
- Problems with remaining teeth, including, misalignment, drifting, loosening and loss
- Collapsed facial profile
- Reduced facial support
- Skin wrinkling around the mouth
- Distortion of other facial features
- Jaw (temporomandibular joint TMJ) pain, facial pain, and headaches
- Impaired speaking / socializing
- Inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly and painlessly
- Reduced bone density (osteoporosis) of the jaws due to reduced loading of the bone