Factors Leading to Bone Loss from Missing Teeth?

Factors Leading Bone Loss from Missing Teeth?

Do you have missing teeth in your mouth, and are you concerned about whether that will have an impact on your oral structures and bone? Then you are at the right place. In America, 1 in 6 adult people (aged 65 years or older) have lost all of their teeth. If you want to know whether bone loss from missing teeth occurs or not, this article is just for you. 

Can Missing Teeth Cause Bone Loss?

Yes, bone loss from missing teeth can occur. Everything in the human body functions in collaboration with one another. The tooth has two parts. One is the crown, which is visible in the mouth. The second part of the tooth is its root. The root is present within the bone and is not visible in the mouth. 

The root of any tooth stimulates the underlying jaw bone to maintain its shape, size, mass, and density. When a tooth falls out or is extracted, the space previously occupied by the root is vacant. The absence of roots within the bone slows down the process of bone regeneration. As a result, the bone weakens, and growth slows down and resorbs. The bone loss continues slowly over a period of time. 

This phenomenon is known as bone resorption. The bone loss begins gradually and increases over time. 

Factors Causing Jaw Bone Loss

In addition to missing teeth, various other factors cause jaw bone loss. Gum and bone diseases like periodontitis can lead to jaw bone loss. Periodontitis has subtypes as well. In these diseases, there is an infection of the bone, which results in mobile teeth.

Dentures can also induce jaw bone loss. The dentures are placed on the gums and continually cause bone loss. The density and mass of bone are greater at the beginning of denture wearing than at the condition of bone after a few years. In addition, misaligned teeth can also result in jaw bone loss. 

Diagnosis of Bone Loss From Missing Teeth

Fortunately, bone loss requires some time after a tooth is extracted or it falls out. The bone loss does not take place during the healing period, i.e., the first 3 to 4 weeks. However, if it has been some time, bone loss becomes inevitable. 

The best and ideal tests to determine the extent of bone loss within the jaw include:

  • OPG (orthopantomogram)
  • CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography)

Symptoms of Bone Loss

Losing teeth bone can show signs and symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Localized bone loss not only affects it but can also affect surrounding bone. As a result, the position of adjacent teeth can be affected too. 
  • Facial pain
  • Change in the shape of the face.
  • Difficulty in chewing

The symptoms patients face of bone loss without missing teeth mainly include sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages. In addition, the concerned teeth can be mobile as well. The patient may also complain of food getting stuck between two teeth.

How Can Bone Loss From Missing Teeth Be Prevented?

A timely replacement plays a major role in preventing bone loss from missing teeth. We can prevent bone loss by:

  • Replacing missing teeth as soon as possible.
  • Consulting the dentist regarding replacement options after the tooth is removed. This is essential because sometimes, if there is no infection or issue, dentists can consider placing an implant right after the removal of the tooth. 
  • Practicing optimal oral hygiene always plays an important role.

Reversal of Jaw Bone Loss From Missing Teeth

“Can jaw bone loss be reversed?” Yes, in most cases, bone loss after missing teeth can be reversed by bone regeneration and various other methods. Some of these methods include:

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting is a procedure in which bone tissue is taken from another bone of the patient. This procedure prevents additional bone loss and restores the integrity, density, and mass of bone. Most commonly, tissue from the hip bone is preferred. Moreover, bone graft (the bone tissue) can also be taken from another animal. 

The third option is to use a synthetic bone graft like hydroxyapatite. However, it is best to use a bone graft from the patient’s body to avoid any complications. 


Dental implants are a replica of natural teeth. They prevent and treat bone loss from missing teeth. The screw of the implant acts like the root of the tooth and stimulates the bone to grow and regenerate. The dentist might even place a part of the dental implant right after the extraction of the tooth. This will reduce the number of appointments required to place the implant and keep bone loss at bay. 

However, if the tooth site is infectious, the implant might not be placed at the time of extraction. In such a case, the dentist will provide you with possible treatment plans that you can pursue after the extraction. 

Sinus Lift

The sinuses of the upper jaw are air-filled spaces located adjacent to the nose, above the upper premolar and molar teeth, and behind the eye. A sinus lift is a frequent surgical treatment that creates enough bone beneath the maxillary (upper jaw) sinus for dental implant insertion, specifically in case of bone loss from missing teeth.

This procedure initiates jaw bone regeneration to prevent the implant from piercing these air-filled spaces in the upper jaw and infecting them. Sinus lifts can be performed before or during implant insertion.

What Happens if Bone Loss Continues?

If bone loss after missing teeth continues, the bone loses its density and mass. This reduces its ability to restore. It becomes weaker and affects the overall strength of the facial skeleton. In such a case, the risk of bone fractures upon minor accidents also increases. 

Moreover, it even becomes difficult to provide dentures to such patients without bone grafting. The denture loses its stability, and the patient cannot perform regular oral functions. 


To sum up, missing teeth can cause bone loss. However, there are ways to prevent and treat this bone loss. It is always better to consult with your dentist about replacing a tooth before its extraction. 

Dr. Arthur Yeh and Associates are dental experts in Montclair, NJ. Book your appointment today with dental specialists in Montclair, NJ, for a comprehensive treatment plan if you have missing teeth or an extraction planned soon.