The Importance of Teeth for Jawbone Health
When one or more teeth are missing, it can lead to jawbone loss at the site of the gap. This loss of bone can develop into additional problems with your appearance and your overall health. You may experience pain, problems with your remaining teeth, altered facial appearance, and eventually even the inability to speak and eat normally.
Bone tissue is maintained by use, just as muscles are maintained through exercise. 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 begins to break down, or resorb. The body no longer uses or “needs” the jawbone, so it deteriorates and goes away.
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 (temporomandibular joint/TMJ) pain, facial pain, and headaches
- Difficulty speaking and communicating
- Inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly and painlessly
- Sinus expansion