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, the following symptoms can be observed:
- 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?
Most of the time, dental bone loss most of the times occurs as a consequence of periodontitis or if a tooth is left unreplaced. 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 pay attention to a good and extensive oral hygiene and undertake regular visits to the dentist.
How to treat dental bone loss?
If and how the dental bone loss of a patient is treated, depends on the individual case; specifially on how advanced the bone loss is.
If the dental bone loss is in an advanced state, one must resort to more serious and efficient methods to treat it. A jaw 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 replacement material is determined based on the circumstances of the patient’s condition. The following materials are used:
- 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 scrtucture faster, therefore the whole treatment can be finished in less time. The bone can be harvested of the thicker part of the jaw bone or hip bone, depending 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 and good quality. As the transplanted bone is our own bone, a rejection from the body can be excluded. 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 iplantation in cases with dental bone loss.