What is Dental Bone Loss

Bone loss can occur around the teeth and in the jaw. Once a patient loses a tooth or has it removed, it is actually common for the patient to have bone loss. Bone loss is particularly common among patients with gum disease. With periodontitis or gum disease, bacteria found in dental plaque causes damage to the bones which secure the teeth in place. Bone loss is possible in patients of any age, but is most commonly an issue as patients get older.


Bone loss in the mouth occurs when there is shrinkage of the bone which surrounds and supports the teeth. This change typically takes place due to disease or injection. Bone loss often results in the teeth becoming loose, movement of the teeth, the new creation of gaps, and other problems. It is possible for bone loss to impact the jawbone, especially for patients who are missing one or more teeth.


Some of the most come symptoms associated with bone loss and gum disease include loose teeth, movement of the teeth, bleeding gums, and gums which are swollen. With gum disease, patients often notice that the gums bleed from simple activities like brushing. Patients with these symptoms should follow up with their dentist right away. It is critical to act quickly to ensure the issue does not become worse.


The following are symptoms associated with bone loss: teeth gaps, bad breath or taste in the mouth, shifting teeth, bleeding gums, swollen gums, and gums which begin to recede. The dentist will evaluate the issues, determine the cause and create a treatment plan.


Bone loss in gums is often the result of periodontal disease or tooth loss. Bone loss around the teeth may be the result of damage from an accident or trauma. If a patient experiences a sports-related injury that impacts their mouth, they are likely to experience bone loss.


Smoking is one of the greatest risk factors that makes patients susceptible to bone loss and gum disease. Recent data suggests that not only does smoking increases a patient’s risk for gum disease and bone loss, but also increases the amount of damage the experience from the disease. Smoking also reduces the effectiveness of most treatment options as it impairs the body’s ability to heal. Some serious medical conditions and poor nutrition can also cause bone loss.


Fortunately, there are treatment options which can be used to aid in reversing the damage of bone loss and preserving the teeth. It is critical for patients to practice good oral hygiene at home. A good oral hygiene regimen will involve twice daily brushing, flossing every day, and regular dental visits for an examination and professional cleaning. These visits to the dentist can also detect early signs of bone loss. In some cases, periodontal treatment may be required to treat more advanced gum disease.

Bone grafts can be used when the bone structure has been compromised. The grafts can both strengthen and help regenerate new bone. A bone grafts may be needed to support a dental implant for patients with a missing tooth.

Prevention is better than any treatment available. Preventing bone loss includes good oral care at home, proper brushing, a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle practices, not smoking, and consuming a minimal amount of sugar.

If you suspect you have gum disease or bone loss, contact your dentist right away. The dentist can determine the cause and begin treatment. Prompt action not prevents additional damage, but can also aid in preserving the teeth.

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