Why Bone Resorption Occurs
Bones are strengthened by physical stimulus. For your jawbone, that includes the force exerted on your jaws by chewing and biting and the way those forces travel through your teeth. When a tooth is missing, the bone loses its stimulus in that spot and your body begins signaling osteoclasts to break down the jawbone. New bone is still being formed, according to Frontiers in Physiology, but at a lower rate than bone is being destroyed.
Therefore, tooth extraction is commonly associated with jawbone loss, according to a study in the Indian Journal of Dentistry. In fact, up to 25 percent of the bone may be lost in the first year after a tooth extraction. The study reports that wearing dentures may increase the rate at which the bone deteriorates. If the bone continues to shrink, a patient's dentures may become loose and require refitting.
Beyond tooth extraction, certain dental and medical conditions may lead to bone resorption in the mouth. Bone loss is a common symptom of periodontitis, or gum disease, concludes a study in the International Journal of Oral Science. Osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones weak and brittle, can also affect the jawbone, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Additionally, a study published in Medicine found that during orthodontic treatment, patients experienced a loss in bone density around the teeth that moved. Fortunately, the bone may recover back to its original strength in the months after treatment.