Reasons for Jaw Bone Loss and Deterioration

The following are the most common causes for jaw bone deterioration and loss that may require a bone grafting procedure:

Tooth Extractions

If an adult tooth is removed without replacement, it may cause jaw bone deterioration. Jaw bone which houses the teeth is usually stimulated through activities such as chewing and biting. Upon loss of teeth, the alveolar bone which now lacks the necessary stimulation begins to break down and resorb leading to deterioration of the jaw bone altogether. The time frame between the removal of teeth and deterioration of the bone vary in individuals however deterioration usually occurs within eighteen months of loss and continues gradually throughout life. The rate of deterioration and amount of bone loss varies as well.

Periodontal diseases are ongoing infections of the periodontal tissues (alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, cementum, or gingiva) that support the teeth.

Plaque-induced inflammatory lesions bring about most periodontal issues. Gingivitis of which dental plaque is the primary cause may not progress into periodontitis but always preceedes periodontitis.

Composed primarily of food particles and various types of bacteria, plaque refers to the colorless film that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria in plaques produce toxins that damage the gums by causing inflammation. Hence, daily brushing and flossing of teeth is important to prevent the dental plaques from forming a calculus which is harder to manage; the gum tissue and bone holding teeth in place deteriorates. The progressive loss of support can lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth.


Dentures may be anchored or Unanchored. The anchored ones adequately stimulate and preserve bone however the Unanchored dentures do not provide any direct stimulation to the underlying alveolar bone as they are placed above the gum line. The lack of stimulation eventually causes the bone resorption and deterioration. Unanchored dentures therefore are not as durable as the anchored counterpart and a new set of dentures will be required oftentimes. Good care of dentures and proper refitting are essential to maintaining oral health.

On the other hand, Bridgeworks allow sufficient bone stimulation except in the portion of the bridge that spans the gap where the teeth are missing so bone loss can occur in those areas.

Facial Trauma

When a tooth is knocked out or broken to the extent that no biting surface is left below the gum line, bone stimulation stops, which results in jaw bone loss. Some common forms of tooth and jaw trauma include: teeth knocked out from injury or accident, jaw fractures, or teeth with a history of trauma that may die and lead to bone loss years after the initial trauma.

A bone grafting procedure would be necessary to reverse the effects of bone deterioration, restoring function and promoting new bone growth in traumatized areas.


Misalignment of teeth leaves some teeth without an opposing structure allowing them to over-erupt causing eventual deterioration of the underlying bone due to neglect. Issues such as TMJ problems, normal wear-and-tear, and lack of treatment can also result in deterioration by this pattern due to the physical forces that interfere with the teeth’s ability to grind and chew properly.


Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone and bone marrow of the jaw. There is ensuring Inflammation and reduction of blood supply to the bone. The treatment generally requires surgical removal of the affected bone and use of antibiotics.


Facial tumors, whether Benign or malignant require reconstructive bone grafting to restore normal jaw function due to the facial distortion and deterioration. The benign ones may continue to grow large requiring removal of a part of the jaw if untreated while the malignant type almost always spreads into the jaw requiring more challenging reconstruction techniques because it invades the surrounding soft tissues as well.

Developmental Deformities

Conditions characterized by missing portions of the teeth, facial bones, jaw or skull.

Sinus Deficiencies

When molars are removed, the air pressure from the air cavity (maxillary sinus) causes bone resorption of the bone that formerly helped keep the teeth in place. There is resulting hyperpneumatization of the sinus and subsequent insufficient bone from the dental implant placement.

Dr. Jamison and Dr. DeLong are our expert surgeons available to perform sinus lift or bone graft procedures necessary to restore bone function and growth to prevent jaw bone loss and deterioration brought about by the outlined causes