Healthy Jaw Bone And Why It Matters

Gum disease and other issues can cause the bone in your jaw to deteriorate

Woman at the dentistAlthough we can’t actually see our bones, they play an essential role in any healthy person. Most of us are aware that if the bones in our body weaken and thin, we are more likely to break them, leaving us incapacitated for some time.

Fewer people probably think about the bones in their jaw unless they have an accident that leads to it being broken, but compromised bone in this are can cause a number of problems for your teeth.

In today’s Blue Sky Dental blog, we are going to take a look at some of the reasons why jaw bone deterioration might occur and the possible consequences if it does. We will also look at what can be done about it.

Gum disease

Many of you will already know that gum disease can affect the bone if not detected in time. While gingivitis affects only the gums, if it is not treated in time it can advance and become periodontitis. This not only affects the gums but also attacks the bone, causing it to deteriorate.


It is well known that our bones become thinner as we age, sometimes leading to problems if we fall. This thinning process also occurs in the jaw as well and is one of the reasons why older people are more likely to lose teeth than younger people.


Injury caused by a serious blow to the face could result in a damaged jaw. This may lead to small breakages to the bone that cause the teeth to become loose.

Missing teeth

When we lose a tooth, we not only lose the tooth itself, but over time, the bone in that area too. As the bone no longer has the role of securing the tooth in place, the minerals that are used in the bone are reabsorbed for use elsewhere in the body.

Consequences of bone loss

As mentioned above, one of the most significant consequences of losing bone in the jaw, or where it has become degraded, is that our teeth may become loose and less stable. Eventually, this is likely to lead to tooth loss and the need for replacement with dentures or a dental implant.

Thinning bone in the jaw can also change the shape of your face slightly and give you an older looking appearance. It can also lead to difficulty with eating and speaking. If you have worn dentures for a while and notice they are looser than they used to be, this is unlikely to be due to the dentures themselves but the changes in facial shape as mentioned above.

Preventing bone loss

Bone damage caused by accidents are usually unavoidable, but if you take part in a sport where injury risk is high, such as boxing or even football, you might wish to consider the use of a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw.

For healthy bone in the jaw, the most important thing that you can do is to look after your oral health well. By brushing your teeth correctly, flossing and seeing the hygienist at your local Chelmsford dentists twice a year, you will be well on your way to avoiding periodontitis and retaining healthy bone.

Dental implants and bone loss

Dental implant placement is a highly successful procedure when carried out by experienced dentists such as our own. In order to place them though, a healthy bone structure is necessary. If they were placed into weak or thinning bone, or where there simply wasn’t enough of it, the implant would be likely to fail. If you come to us for this procedure; as part of the preparation, we will take x-rays and scans to determine if there is sufficient bone present. A lack of bone in this area though doesn’t necessarily mean that you are unable to have implants. Before they are placed though, dental augmentation, more commonly known as a bone graft, will be necessary.

Bone grafts

In general, we prefer to use bone from elsewhere in the body. This will require a surgical procedure but also ensures the greatest chance of success. Other sources, such as animal or synthetic can be used and will also provide you with a very good chance of a successful dental implant placement. In order to place the bone, the area will be numbed using a local anaesthetic. A small incision is then made into which the new bone and materials that help the process will be placed before the incision is stitched. This will then be left for a period of time, depending on each patient and, once fully healed, your tooth implant procedure can take place.

As gum disease is one of the leading causes of bone loss (other than the loss of a tooth), it is important that you have a regular gum health check with our Chelmsford hygienist. If you haven’t had one in the last six months, we advise that you book one as soon as possible. For this, and other appointments, you can call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070.

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