The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health
When one or more teeth are missing, it can lead to the loss of bone at the site of the gap. This can cause pain, problems with the remaining teeth, an altered facial appearance, and eventually 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 and biting. When teeth are missing, the alveolar bone, or the portion of the jawbone that anchors the teeth in the mouth, no longer receives the necessary stimulation, and it begins to break down. Since the body no longer uses or “needs” the jawbone, it deteriorates and goes away over time.
Potential Consequences of Tooth and Jawbone 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 pain (temporomandibular joint or TMJ), facial pain, and headaches
- Difficulty speaking
- Inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly and painlessly
- Sinus expansion