3 Dental Conditions That Can Lead To Jawbone Deterioration

Posted on: 23 July 2015


Lifestyle choices and poor oral healthcare can both threaten the health and stability of your teeth. But those choices and resulting damage can also threaten the health and stability of your jawbone, which in turn puts teeth at even more risk. While tooth damage is often immediately noticeable due to a change in appearance, jawbone threats are often overlooked in favor of the dental and gum symptoms. This means that the jawbone can deteriorate before you even know it's at risk.

Here are three dental conditions that can lead to jawbone deterioration. Visit your dentist or periodontist as soon as the general symptoms occur to avoid further and deeper damage.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease occurs when harmful oral bacteria are left unchecked by proper oral healthcare and allowed to develop into an infection. Gingivitis is a mild and common form of periodontal disease that's simply treated with a thorough tooth cleaning at the dentist office.

But if gingivitis is left untreated, the condition can create a worsened form of periodontal disease called periodontitis. The spreading infection and your body's immunological response can threaten the health of your gums, which will begin to pull away from the teeth and the underlying jawbone.

Periodontitis can be cleared up using an antibiotic and a set of dental procedures called scaling and root planing, which are essentially forms of deep cleaning. Your dentist will clean both the surface of the teeth and gums as well as inside the pockets of any gum tissue that has pulled away from the teeth. The gums are then pulled tight back to the teeth and either allowed to heal back into place or stitched there.

Cleaning the gums and teeth and clearing the infection with antibiotics can keep the infected material from sitting on the jawbone and causing deterioration.  

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth occurs when an infection in the root of the tooth also spreads into the surrounding gum tissue. The gums might become swollen and sore around the base of the tooth as the gums fill with infected fluid. This fluid pocket is also sitting on top of the jawbone, putting the bone at risk.

To treat the abscessed tooth, your dentist will treat the infection with antibiotics and a cleaning. The fluid pocket might need to be drained, which will be followed with a cleaning of the inside of the pocket before it is left to heal. If the infection is bad enough, you might require a root canal. 

Missing Tooth

If a tooth is lost to trauma or decay, your dentist will recommend a dental replacement such as a bridge or a dental implant. The suggestion isn't based on cosmetic concerns alone. Your jawbone needs a tooth above it to remain health.

A natural tooth sits above the jawbone and provides both a gentle friction needed for bone production and protection for the blood cells that travel over the surface of the bone to keep it alive. Dental replacements can offer similar services, though not as efficiently as a natural tooth.

Leaving the gap open leaves the jawbone exposed and without stimulation. The covering gum, also without the stimulation of a tooth, can start to pull away and further expose the bone. This can lead to necrosis that kills the bone and can only be fixed with a bone graft.

For more information on periodontal issues, contact a professional like those at Periodontal Specialists.