Bone degradation is a common byproduct of tooth loss. When natural teeth are still intact, the roots stimulate the nerves and send vital nutrients to the bone tissue. In turn, this keeps the jaw strong and healthy. When teeth are lost, however, the jawbone lacks stimulation and bone density is lost. For this reason, individuals who have been missing teeth for years often have a gaunt appearance or “sunken-in” cheeks.
Additionally, gum disease causes bone loss as well. As the infection spreads, it erodes the bone that supports the teeth. Once the disease is under control, bone grafting can help improve stability and overall oral health.
There are some instances in which an individual is born with a defect in the jaw. Bone grafting can address this problem as well.