Bone Loss Treatment in Pittsburgh
Skilled Bone Treatment Specialists
As board-certified periodontists, our doctors are specialists in the treatment and care of the bone that surrounds teeth. In addition, we are nationally recognized leaders in preventative dental care, and we take every measure to help you maintain optimum oral health.
Treatment for bone loss needs to be taken seriously and efficiently. When bone loss does occur, we are well equipped to handle it.
What Causes Bone Loss?
While bone is sometimes thought of as hard and static, it is, in fact, continually changing and reforming, and, to be healthy, bone requires a stimulus. After a tooth is lost or extracted, as much as 25% of the bone that previously held the tooth in place is lost in the first year alone due to lack of stimulation. Full-force chewing—provided by healthy teeth or implant-supported false teeth—stimulates the jawbone to keep it strong; without that stimulus, the body resorbs the bone tissue into the body.
Other common causes of bone loss include the following:
- Gum disease – With periodontitis (gum disease), the bone is eaten away by bacterial plaque and calculus. As the disease progresses in severity, so does the bone loss.
- Misaligned teeth – A tooth that fails to make adequate contact with the tooth on the opposing arch deprives the jawbone around it of proper stimulation.
- Trauma or injury – A tooth knocked out of its proper position can cause misalignment or infection.
- Infection in the jaw – Tumors, viral infections or bacterial infections not caused by gum disease can enter the bone tissue surrounding your teeth and cause bone loss.
Dentures Accelerate Bone Loss
Dentures accelerate bone loss by wearing down the ridges of bone they rest upon. Every time you bite down or clench your teeth, you are placing pressure on the ridge, resulting in bone resorbing. This continual erosion of bones leads to ill-fitting dentures, sore spots and difficult or painful chewing.
People who wear dentures can experience another severe consequence of bone loss: collapse of the lower third of their face.
The loss of the ridge bone brings your chin closer to your nose, causing your jaw to jut out, and the nose appears to stick out further because your upper lip has puckered in. Deep wrinkles appear around the mouth, and the cheeks develop sagging skin or “jowls.” This facial collapse can prematurely age your appearance by many years!
Rebuilding Bone for Lasting Results
There are various options available for rebuilding bone. After a thorough examination, our doctors choose the appropriate treatment, or combination of treatments, for each individual patient to provide lasting, quality results.
If there is inadequate bone to support surrounding teeth and future dental implants, bone graft materials are used to rebuild bone so that there is sufficient quantity and quality of bone to provide support.
Bone grafting is a frequent component of periodontal surgical procedures, and this can sometimes aid in the successful placement of dental implants. When needed, we can add materials to regenerate lost bone tissue.
The material used for these procedures can be your own bone, bone from a tissue bank, bovine bone or synthetic materials. Grafting bone can add years of life to a compromised tooth or even completely reverse the damage.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
Guided tissue regeneration is a process of injecting collagen to act as a barrier between tissues that heal more quickly (gums and ligaments) and bone. This procedure allows time for the bone to regenerate without the encroachment of the faster healing soft tissues.
Dental implants are frequently needed in the back of the jaw. When your upper back teeth are lost and not replaced, the ridge bone resorbs and the sinus cavity expands, so that eventually the bone separating the sinus cavity and the oral cavity is very thin.
Dental implants can’t be placed in such thin bone and, in these cases, the doctor will perform a sinus lift. The sinus is raised by gently pushing up the membrane lining the sinus away from your jaw and packing bone graft material into the space where the sinus cavity was. Once the bone graft material has fully integrated with the jawbone, we can place your implants.
CT Cone Beam Technology for Minimally Invasive Implant Procedures
With the advanced three-dimensional imagery captured by our CT cone beam scanner, our doctors can find areas of optimum bone density and may be able to help many patients have implants placed without the need for bone grafting or sinus lifts.