Jawbone atrophy is a byproduct of tooth loss. Once the teeth are gone, the jawbone no longer receives stimulation once provided by the roots. As a result, the bone ridge loses density and volume over time.
There are several ways to address this problem, including full mouth reconstruction, which may involve surgical and non-surgical methods. At Boston Prosthodontics in Boston, MA, our doctors perform a wide range of procedures to address bone loss and preserve overall oral health. Here, our team explores the topic of full mouth reconstruction for bone loss and outlines the most common procedures available.
The Importance of Addressing Bone Loss
As bone loss progresses, it can lead to undesirable cosmetic issues, such as dark spaces between the teeth. It can even make patients look older than they really are, and contribute to a “sunken-in” appearance. Without the support of the teeth and jawbone, the face can appear gaunt and hollowed.
Most importantly, bone loss can lead to serious oral health issues. When the bone ridge shrinks, it changes the bite. In turn, this affects the way the teeth fit together, and may place excessive stress on the jaw joints as they work overtime to compensate.
Full mouth restoration is a comprehensive treatment that combines two or more procedures. The primary purpose is to restore overall health and function, and may include procedures like dental implants, crowns, bridges, periodontal therapy, and more. In many cases, bone loss must be addressed before pursuing other restorative procedures.
Surgical Treatments for Bone Loss
In most cases, bone loss that affects oral health will require surgery. In the sections below, we will explore the most common treatments.
Significant bone loss must be addressed, particularly if dental implants are a possible treatment option. To last for the long haul, implants must be embedded in healthy, strong bone tissue. If an implant is placed in an area of bone loss, it could lead to failure or damage surrounding nerves. Ridge augmentation may also be necessary before being fitted for new dentures.
This procedure involves adding bone grafting material to the area to increase density and volume. At our practice, we work with board-certified oral surgeons and periodontists that use grafting materials from certified bone banks.
Patients who are considering dental implants to replace missing teeth in the upper jaw may need a sinus lift. If the teeth have been missing for a prolonged period of time, the upper sinus may drop down to the area once occupied by the roots.
To prevent the implants from penetrating the sinus cavity, a surgeon can reposition the sinus membrane and fill the void underneath with bone grafting material. Once this is complete, implants can be placed safely.
Non-surgical Treatments for Bone Loss
Sometimes bone loss may simply affect the appearance of your smile. If you only need to address the issue cosmetically, there are several things your Boston prosthodontists can do.
Bone loss can cause small, dark triangles to appear between the teeth. The application of composite resin can fill in those spaces and make your smile look more attractive.
This process can be completed in a single office visit. However, bonding must be retouched every five to seven years for best results.
Fixed Porcelain Interdental Addition
Your prosthodontist can add gum-colored resin or porcelain to existing restorations. This will effectively conceal the gaps and spaces that appear due to bone loss.
Usually only recommended on a temporary basis, a removable artificial tissue appliance can also conceal dark triangles and make your smile appear more balanced. These devices are usually made from flexible plastic or acrylic, and can be color-matched to the surrounding structures for a natural look.
Contact Our Practice to Learn More
If bone loss has resulted in unwanted aesthetic or health issues, schedule a consultation at our Boston practice. Our doctors can help determine a treatment for you. Contact us online anytime or call us at (617) 523-5451.