A healthy smile needs decay-free teeth and healthy gums, as well as a healthy jawbone. Our teeth need a strong firm foundation to remain healthy and beautiful. At William J. Stewart Jr. DDS Advanced Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in San Antonio, we’ve seen a variety of issues in our patients’ jaw health.
Today’s post looks at bone recession. Occasionally, a patient experiences bone recession in their jaw which can cause tooth loss and other problems. However, it is usually the other way around. The bone loss occurs as a result of a lost tooth because the blood supply and stimulus needed for maintaining healthy bone is taken away.
Let’s look at the most common causes of jaw bone recession:
Bone is living tissue and needs stimulation to stay healthy and retain its size and density. Biting, chewing, talking and all the other normal mouth functions keep the portion of the bone surrounding the tooth root healthy. When a tooth is extracted, the bone that used to anchor the tooth root recedes as if it understands that it is no longer needed. A dental implant provides stimulation similar to the natural tooth and can prohibit bone recession.
If you would like to replace a missing tooth with an implant, but don’t have enough bone at the implant site, you might be a candidate for bone grafting. Bone grafting may sound like major oral surgery but it is really a routine procedure performed in a dental office.
A gum infection can result when gum inflammation goes untreated and progresses to periodontitis, or periodontal disease. With periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth creating pockets which provide the perfect breeding ground for the dangerous infection.
Gum infections can advance undetected, though there are usually warning signs. Swollen, painful gums, loose teeth, and gums that bleed when brushed are symptoms of periodontitis. The infection dissolves bone as the gums pull away from the tooth. Inadequate oral hygiene increases the risk of gum disease but other factors can compromise gum health. These include smoking (no surprise here), hormone levels, diseases that lower immune system effectiveness, medications that cause dry mouth, and genetic predisposition.
An abscess is a pus-filled pocket of infection that occurs in the nerve and roots of a tooth. As the infection attacks the tooth and bone tissue it creates a space that fills with pus. There are several treatments for a tooth abscess including antibiotics to kill the infection, a root canal, or extraction, if needed.
HOW WE CAN HELP
If you have experienced bone recession due to gum disease, an abscess, an extracted tooth, or any other reason, let’s discuss your options. You may benefit from a dental implant, soft tissue grafts, or bone grafts. Dental implants can significantly improve your quality of life and prevent further recession.
If you want to learn about the possibilities for your smile, call William J. Stewart Jr. DDS Advanced Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in San Antonio. We also offer general and family dentistry.