Treatment for Bone Loss in the Mouth
Bone loss can occur in the mouth due to a few different reasons. The problem with bone loss in the mouth is that it can leave the teeth unsupported or make it difficult to replace lost teeth. Is there anything that can be done to reverse bone loss?
A periodontist may be able to help you recoup lost bone structure through a procedure called bone grafting. Here’s how it works.
What is Bone Grafting?
Bone grafting is a procedure to rebuild bone in the mouth and jaw. The procedure involves the placement of bone particles (human, animal, or artificial) under the gums and on top of the existing bone. The bone graft fortifies the existing jaw bone and encourages regrowth of your own bone.
Bone grafting can be done in a single area where a tooth is missing bone or across many areas of teeth with bone loss. Bone grafting can also be used to build bone so you can get a dental implant placed. Regrowth of the bone can take a few months depending on the situation.
What is a Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in rebuilding support structures for teeth and dental implants, including the gum tissue, jaw bone, and connective tissues that hold the teeth and implants in place. Periodontists have completed the education and training to be a general dentist, as well as an additional 3 years of training to become a periodontist. Because bone grafting is a specialized procedure that is performed on the jaw, it is most often done by a periodontist.
What Causes Bone Loss in the Jaw?
When one or more teeth are missing from the jaw, the bone can deteriorate as there are no tooth roots in the jaw bone that put stress on the jaw. That stress is what keeps the bone in place. Think of people in wheelchairs that don't use their legs and then the legs become thin and atrophy. The situation is very similar. The bone weakens and thins out as the body slowly dissolves the unused bone. In the absence of a tooth, the jaw bone gradually fades away.
Gum disease and tooth infections can also cause deterioration of the jaw bone because bacteria that cause these infections destroy the gum and bone. As diseased gum and bone dissolve away from the teeth, the teeth can become loose and even fall out. Infection can spread from the gums and teeth to the jaw and cause damage to the bone.
What is the Purpose of Bone Grafting?
Missing teeth can affect your dental function and appearance. The best way to try and rebuild lost bone around teeth is through bone grafting. Bone grafts can be used to rebuild the lost bone caused by gum disease and dental infection so you can strengthen the support structures that hold the teeth in the jaw.
If the teeth are already missing, bone grafting can be used to build sufficient bone so a dental implant can be placed into the bone so a tooth replacement can occur. Dental implants require a sufficient base of bone to be anchored in the jaw and bone grafting can help build the right amount of bone needed.
How Do I Know if I Need Bone Grafting?
If you have loose teeth, been told you have bone loss around your teeth, been told you have gum disease or are considering getting one or more dental implants, your periodontist can evaluate you and see if you are a candidate for bone grafting.
Scott H. Froum DDS, PC Provides Bone Grafting
Bone grafting is most commonly performed by a periodontist. Dr. Froum specializes in treatments and procedures affecting the support structures for the teeth, including the jaw bone. We provide bone grafting for patients who have bone loss in the jaw in order to save their teeth or make getting dental implants possible.
Call 212-751-8530 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.