Is Dental Bone Loss Serious

Various issues can cause bone loss, however it is most commonly caused by missing teeth. The natural teeth stimulate the jawbone through routine use. This can include chewing, biting down, and even speaking. When a patient loses a tooth and fails to replace it, there is a lack of jawbone stimulation. Over time, this can cause bone resorption and shrinkage. When a missing tooth is not replaced, 25% of bone is lost within the first year and the bone will continue to deteriorate. Below is a summary of some of the most common causes for bone loss.


Missing Teeth

The natural teeth stimulate the jawbone through routine activities. This stimulation is needed in order to preserve the bone and stimulate new growth. Teeth which fall out or are removed without being replaced fail to provide the needed stimulation and result in slow bone deterioration and resorption.

Gum Disease

When a patient has gum disease, the soft tissue of the gums is damaged. Eventually, the disease can also destroy the bone which supports the teeth and holds them in place. Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease. This form of gum disease can often be prevented through good oral hygiene practices. This includes brushing the teeth at least twice each day, daily flossing, and frequent dental visits for exams and cleaning. Untreated gingivitis can progress into the more severe form the disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause deterioration of tissue and bone which can ultimately cause the teeth to become loose or fall out completely.


When a tooth falls out because of an accident or as the result of trauma, there is a lack of jawbone stimulation. This too can cause bone loss. Patients who participate in sports often experience mouth or tooth trauma. Injuries commonly associated with sports can include a jaw fracture and broken or knocked out teeth.

Bridges and Dentures

A traditional denture rests over the gums. While this is a popular tooth-replacement solution, it does not properly stimulate to the jawbone. This causes the bone to deteriorate and resorb. The change in the bone structure can make it increasingly difficult for patients to clearly speak and eat. The change in the bone structure can also impact the patient’s appearance.


Loose dentures can also cause bone loss. In some cases, there is such a significant amount of bone loss that the dentures no longer fit. When this occurs, patients must get new dentures. Bridges rely on the support of the adjacent teeth. The adjacent teeth often need to be filed down or modified in order for the dentist to properly attach the bridge.

Alignment Issues

Another common cause of bone is teeth misalignment. When teeth are not properly aligned, there can be a lack of opposing tooth structure. Other types of misalignment may include temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), the eruption of wisdom teeth, and normal wear-and-tear. These can all negatively impact a patient’s ability to perform routine activities and therefore provide proper stimulation of the jawbone. This can eventually result in bone loss.

There are various issues which can cause bone loss. In order to determine the cause, it is important for patients to follow up with their dentist. The dentist can also determine the patient’s treatment options. Prompt treatment can help prevent long-term issues and additional damage.

What is Dental Bone Loss