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Chad M. Boustany D.D.S., M.S.

How Do Missing Teeth Affect Your Jaw


man in dental chairWhen you have missing teeth, it affects many things; your self-esteem, your self-confidence, and your ability to eat. However, what you don’t realize is that when you have missing teeth, it also affects your jaw and the shape of your face. To reverse some of these changes can be very costly. Here at Revive Dental and Implant Center we want to help remind everyone how important your dental health is and how it affects more than just your smile.

Effects to Your Lower Jaw


When you are missing your teeth, your jawbone will atrophy. As an example, if you broke your arm or leg and couldn’t use that limb for some months, what would happen? That muscle would shrink a little because it hasn’t been used. It is the same for your jawbone. If there are no teeth, then your jawbone will most likely shrink because the chewing motion exercises and strengthens your jawbone. If you only have one or two teeth missing it isn’t as serious, but if you have most of your teeth missing this will most certainly cause your jawbone to become weak.

Having a weak jawbone causes many issues on its own – including the possibility of a fractured jaw and more tooth loss because the jawbone is unable to support any teeth that might remain. When you have a weakened jawbone, it is impossible to have dental bridges or implants without additional procedures performed. The only option left for you is dentures. You may have the option of the dentist being able to rebuild your jawbone with bone grafts, but this is of course, a very costly option and would need to be within your budget.

Effects to the Upper Jaw


Your lower jawbone is not the only area affected by missing teeth. Your upper jawbone can also be affected. You should realize that even the slightest change in the size of your upper jawbone, even from a single missing tooth, can cause significant issues with your sinuses. The sinus cavity is already close to your teeth – in fact, a lot of back molars’ roots already penetrate the sinus cavity. So, having a missing tooth and making this smaller only puts the sinus cavity even closer to the teeth. In some instances, a patient may require a sinus lift to ensure there is enough room for the implant.

Your bite can be affected as well because of the changes to your jawbones. As your jawbone shrinks, your teeth will eventually stop hitting each other at the right times and spots. Again, a dental procedure such as a bridge won’t be able to correct this issue because it will not be able to stimulate the jawbone to keep it healthy. But depending on the amount of damage, we may be able to do a bone graft which will stimulate the jawbone enough to support an implant.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your jaw, jawbone or in your face from missing teeth, please call Revive Dental and Implant Center at (304) 467-4265 and let us set up an appointment for you.
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