The Importance of Teeth for Jaw Bone Health

Alveolar bone is the portion of the jaw that supports and anchors the teeth. When one or more teeth are lost, this condition can lead bone loss at the site of tooth loss. This loss of bone can lead to additional problems.  There may be changes in appearance, function and overall health. People who lose teeth prematurely may experience pain, damage to their remaining teeth and even the inability to speak and eat normally.

In that same way that muscles are maintained through exercise, bone is maintained by use. Teeth are embedded in the jaw, and activities like chewing and biting stimulates and maintains the supporting bone. When teeth are prematurely lost, the alveolar bone no longer receives the necessary stimulation, and begins to break down, or resorbs (dissolves away). In other words, the body no longer  “needs” the jawbone in this area, 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
  • Inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly and painlessly
  • Sinus expansion (pneumatization)