How does missing teeth cause bone loss?
Missing teeth affects your entire mouth. One of the long term problems is the atrophy of the bone in the jaw. What people may not realize is that the root of your tooth is constantly stimulating your jaw bone. This stimulation is a factor in how your bone maintains itself, much the same way your muscles maintain your body in other areas. When a tooth is lost or extracted, this relationship ends, and your bone is no longer getting that stimulation it requires, so the bone begins to deteriorate and then shrink in a process called bone atrophy. In the same way a person loses mass when they are unable to be active, your jaw loses mass when it is not active. The bone will actually begin to reabsorb in that spot because it is no longer being stimulated from the motion and pressure of your tooth. This gives people an older, sunken appearance.
What can happen when my bone atrophies?
An unfortunate chain of events happens when your jaw bone atrophies. The original tooth was lost generally due to decay. With that tooth extracted, and the space empty. The shape of your bone immediately changes. As the bone changes, it will affect neighboring teeth. Teeth can loosen due to this change, they can shift, their overall health can be effected. Your bite will change, and this can lead to other effects including migraines. As teeth shift, this can lead to more tooth loss. This chain of problems, can be stopped with the placement of a dental implant. The placement of removable dentures or partials does not stop bone loss. The pressure of these devices works differently than tooth roots, it does not provide the internal stimulation of the bone by the tooth roots.
At Dr. Radakovich's office in Portland, OR, we can help stop this problem. Under his care, Dr. Radakovich can assist in slowing or even stopping the process of atrophy from the time of extraction. Right away, he can place a socket bone graft at the time of extraction. After a time of healing, a dental implant can be placed, which will continue to stimulate your jawbone, immediately slowing and/or stopping the degrading process. Sometimes our patients have already experienced too much bone loss, and this is when we recommend a process called bone grafting, which is different than socket bone grafting.
What is bone grafting?
At Joseph Radakovich, DMD, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, in Portland OR, dentistry is advancing. Bone Grafting is the process of actually growing bone where it is needed. By growing bone, it allows us to place implants and restore function to your bite. This may sound extreme, but your bone has an extraordinary ability to regenerate. By harvesting bone from your body, generally the chin, we are able to place the graft and it will regenerate within a few months time.
What happens after my bone graft?
With strong, healthy bone, we can replace a missing tooth with a tooth implant, giving you a permanent solution. Dr. Radakovich places a titanium dental device directly into your jawbone. This device will serve as a new, strong, root for a dental crown. With a crown, your tooth is now ready for use. This process can be applied for one, two, multiple or even all of your teeth. We can give you a strong, healthy mouth.
Our team is happy to answer your questions surrounding your tooth extraction and the process for restoration. Contact our oral surgeon, Joseph Radakovich, DMD, at our Portland, OR 97213 office for more information. 503-455-4673