What is dental bone loss?
Dental bone loss means the deterioration of the structure of bone tissue. When osteoporosis occurs, the bone mass decreases. General bone loss in the whole body occurs due to lack of nutrition and exercise.
As opposed to general bone loss, dental bone loss has other causes, such as periodontitis.
What are the symptoms of dental bone loss?
In general, dental bone loss is very inconspicuous, since it happens without any pain. However, ultimately, the whole jaw becomes less resilient. In an advanced condition, we can see the following symptoms:
- bleeding of the gum when brushing teeth
- red, swollen and sensitive gum
- bad breath
- loose teeth
- change in bite
What are the causes of dental bone loss?
The most frequent causes are periodontitis or if you do not replace a lost tooth. Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease, caused by the bacteria deposited in the maxillary sinus as the consequence of inadequate oral hygiene. If this inflammation is not treated in time, it evolves into periodontitis, which eventually leads to destruction of the bone structure or dental bone loss. In order to prevent dental bone loss, the patient has to maintain a good and extensive oral hygiene and undertake regular visits to the dentist.
How to treat dental bone loss?
The eventual treatment for dental bone loss depends on each patient’s individual case; specifically on how advanced the bone loss is.
If the dental bone loss is in an advanced state, one needs more serious and efficient methods to treat it. A jaw bone augmentation or bone graft is an adequate solution which, however, means a surgical intervention. There are different types of jaw bone augmentation, such as sinus lift, mini lift, etc. With most of these methods the following bone transplant materials are applied: synthetic, animal bone (e.g. beef bone) or harvesting the patient’ own bone from another body part (e.g. chin, pelvic).
The different bone grafting methods have one aspect in common, namely all of them are very cost-intensive.
Materials for bone grafting
Bone grafting is an oral surgical intervention, through which the remaining bone mass is filled up with a bone replacement material. The dentist chooses the replacement material based on the patient’s condition. Dental surgeons use the following materials:
- synthetic bone,
- bone of animal origin,
- own bones of the patient.
A person’s own bone, harvested from another body part, grows together with the existing bone structure faster. With this method the whole treatment takes less time. The dental surgeon can harvest bone from the thicker part of the patient’s jaw bone or hip bone. It always depends on how much bone mass is available in that area. Taking bone from the hipbone is the least dangerous option, since the hip offers a great amount of good quality bone material. As the transplanted bone is the patient’s own bone, there is no risk of rejection. Within up to 2-3 weeks, the patient can experience some difficulties when walking, due to a possibly sensitive hip. This type of bone grafting is more complicated; however in some cases there is no other alternative for jaw augmentation, which is essential when it comes to dental implantation in cases with dental bone loss.