You probably give very little thought to your skeletal structure, unless you experience a fracture or bone disease. You simply rely on bones to support bodily structure and perform the way they are meant to. Jaw bone health is especially easy to take for granted. However, Dr. Howard Stevenson, Dr. Stephen Fairchild, and Dr. Timothy Surber, oral and maxillofacial surgeons serving the Valparaiso & Merrillville, IN area, urge you to learn more about bone loss and its treatment.
The amazing jaw
“Jaws” consists of and the upper boney arch called the maxilla; and the mandible, or lower arch hinged to each side of the skull. Without the jaws, we could not consume foods that provide nourishment for growth and regeneration. Jaw structure forms a vital component of the respiratory system, essential to life. The lower portion of your facial skeleton lets you communicate by expression and speech.
Bone tissue, much like muscle, is sustained through use. Pressure from biting and chewing is transferred to tooth roots and into the jawbone. That sensation signals the body to send nutrients necessary to maintain bone mass. When teeth are missing, the maxilla or mandible no longer receives this stimulation. The body interprets this as reduced need for bone mass and density. As minerals are resorbed back into the bloodstream, the bone thins, becomes porous, and diminishes.
Oral health and bone disease
Because there is no initial bone pain, you do not realize deterioration is occurring. Over time, though, dental bone loss can trigger pain in the jaw, TMJ disorders, and headaches. Gum recession often accompanies bone loss in the jaw, increasing sensitivity. Speaking clearly is more difficult, sinuses expand, and you may not be able to chew properly. Eventually, support for existing teeth is compromised increasing likelihood that more will be lost. Progressive bone loss leads to lack of lower facial support and advanced aging.
Bone loss also has a big impact on appearance:
- Gaps in the smile from missing teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Exposed tooth roots
- Thin lips
- Periorbital lip lines
- Sagging, wrinkled skin on the lower half of the face
- Collapse of the area from nose to chin
- Distortion of facial features and proportions
Solutions for jaw bone health in Valparaiso & Merrillville, IN
The doctors at Stevenson, Fairchild & Surber OMS utilize the latest bone grafting methods to restore oral health. With these techniques, most people can be candidates for dental implants. Call (219) 307-4382 to schedule a bone health evaluation.