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Alveolar Bone loss following tooth loss

Teeth are held in by a specialised type of bone called ‘alveolar bone’. This bone has very unique properties which enables teeth to be well supported during function. The teeth are situated in the alveolar bone via thousands of periodontal ligaments. These ligaments enable teeth to exhibit a slight bit of movement so that the forces from chewing can be absorbed safely without risking fracture of either the teeth or the alveolar bone. The continuous movements of these ligaments provide the alveolar bone with a positive signal which promotes cellular activity to maintain the bone structure.

Once a tooth is removed, the ligaments holding that particular tooth are also lost. This results in no activation of that particular region of the mouth therefore, the positive signals that promote cellular activity within the alveolar bone is lost. This results in the gradual decline of the bone volume and can ultimately result in a significant amount of bone loss in these areas of the mouth.

By replacing the missing tooth or teeth with a dental implant, the natural process of bone loss can be minimised because the bone in that area can be stimulated with a dental implant. This is because the implant will be directly placed within the alveolar bone therefore, it will promote cellular activity within that region of the alveolar bone.

Maintaining bone structure in the mouth is very important for the overall health and appearance of your teeth and facial structure. Once bone has been lost due to resorption (following tooth loss), it can be very difficult, sometimes impossible, to replace this missing bone. For this reason, we recommend to our patients that treatment to replace missing teeth is not unnecessarily delayed to ensure that the maximum bone volume can be maintained with the highest standards being achieved.

Thank you for reading,

Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)

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