Dentist Questions Dental Health

What does bone loss in the teeth mean?

In the recent dentist appointment that I went for, the doctor has mentioned start of bone loss. I am 64 years old currently and heavily diabetic. What does this bone loss mean? Can it be corrected at this age or are there any methods to prevent further deterioration.

17 Answers

Bone loss around the roots of teeth is not uncommon with severe diabetes. If you want your teeth to last as long as possible then you should ask your dentist to provide a course of treatment or see a specialist periodontist.
At this age specially when you are diabetic, it is obvious to have bone loss, but you can control it by regular home care brushing, dental floss, professional cleaning 6 monthly or 3 monthly depending on severity, deep cleaning or gum surgery if recommended by dentist.
Bone loss can be multi factorial. Age, diabetes, poor home care, hereditary.

Bone loss is the result of periodontal disease, which is an inflammatory disease that affects the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered a complication of diabetes. Those people who don't have their diabetes under control are especially at risk. In order to control the progression of periodontal disease, you may want to work with your doctor in getting your
diabetes under control.

Non-surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing, localized antibiotic and laser treatment are typically used to treat early stage of periodontal disease. For more advanced periodontal disease, regenerative procedures are often used for treatment. During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria. Membranes, bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins can be used to encourage your body's natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue. With a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care, you will have an increased chance to combat periodontal disease.

Please let me know if you have further questions.

Kathleen Young, DDS
bone loss around your teeth is a normal occurrence as you age....the amount of bone loss is heightened by your diabetes...unfortunately bone loss is typically not reversible...excellent oral hygiene is key..along with regular cleanings at your dentist....hope this was helpfull......Dr Joel Rosenkrantz
Hi. I'm sorry to hear about the start of bone loss, not in the teeth but around the teeth. The teeth are held in the jaw by 2 "plates" of bone - one on the outside, and one on the inside. The gums sit on top of the bone and are also joined to the tooth by little fibers. When anything gets under your gums, such as a really deep filling or crown, or bacteria from plaque, that "stuff" is too close to the bone, and the bone doesn't like it so it tries to receed to get away. (Bone prefers to be about 3 millimeters (about 1/8th of an inch) away from anything.) In your case, I will assume that you are probably not flossing every night, and may not be doing an incredibly wonderful job of brushing so that plaque has accumulated along your gumline. Unfortunately, when plaque is not broken up and removed daily it begins to work its way under the gums (and, therefore, closer to the bone) which then causes you to start losing bone. If the bone loss has just started there are several things you can do to help stop it from progressing. First, you must do a really good, but gentle, job of brushing. Do not scrub or you can irritate your gums and cause them to receed which will worsen bone loss. An electric or battery-operated toothbrush will be a huge help. Don't scrub back and forth with it, though. Rather, hold it against one tooth for a few seconds and then move on to the next tooth. You can move it slowly along the molars to get all parts of it. Next, floss. If you have spaces at the gumline you can use an interdental cleaner of some sort. Ask your dentist which one would be recommended. Finally, especially because you're diabetic, have your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. Depending upon your control and oral condition, you may need a cleaning up to 4 times a year. Bear in mind, the mouth and the body are intimately tied together (amazing, isn't it?!). If you have gum disease (which is now in the early stages with you) it is more difficult to keep your blood sugar under control; if your sugar is not well controlled, it is more difficult to keep your gums healthy. I realize this is long winded and over simplified. Good luck. Dr. Carla
Bone loss surrounding teeth can be due to periodontal disease which is deterioration of the bone due to plaque and bacteria under the gum line where it cannot be brushed away with regular oral hygiene and care. Treatment for periodontal disease is to see you dentist regularly or more often as prescribed by your dentist for deep cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup under the gum line. Your dentist may send you to a periodontist which is a dentist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease and bone loss. A periodontist can review further treatment options besides deep cleanings. Bone loss can also be due to osteoporosis or osteopenia which are treated by your physician with calcium and vitamin D supplementation or medication.
Dear Patient. Diabetes is an auto immune disease that deteriorates the jaw bone if it is not controlled. There is a direct correlation between blood sugar and bone loss in your jaw. You can stop the process by good oral hygiene(flossing) and controlling your blood sugar. You will never get the lost bone back but you can surely stop this prosess( periodontal disease). Y having implacable oral hygiene and low glycemic diet.

I first must apologize for my late reply to your question, but I have been sick for the past couple of days.

Now, on to your question. There are two types of bone in your jaw. The first type is called cancellous bone. This is the type

of bone that makes up your jaw and is never lost. The second type of bone is called alveolar bone, and the sole function of

this type of bone is to hold in your teeth. Once you lose your teeth you also lose your alveolar bone. This is the type of bone

that is affected when we talk about periodontal disease, or what is also referred to as bone loss.

There are many factors that can cause bone loss, getting older is definitely one of them, as well as certain diseases such as

diabetes, which you stated you had. However, the number one reason for bone loss is attributed to either poor or improper

oral hygiene. This will lead to the accumulation of plaque which is colonies of bacteria, and if left long enough will become

hard and bond to the teeth and gums, and this is known as tarter. If left on the teeth or gums, these colonies of bacteria

will begin to eat away at the alveolar bone, and in advanced cases can lead to tooth loss.

General bone loss is irreversible, however by doing a general cleaning followed by a deep cleaning at the next visit, which is

when the patient is anesthisized, in order that we may go underneath the gums as far as possible with our instruments and clean

out all the tarter that has built up underneath the gums. The patient must then be instructed on proper oral hygiene to be done at home.

The patient must also be aware that unless he does his part at home, what the doctor does in the office will not be successful.

The last phase of treatment should be that the patient returns at least every 3-4 months for a regular cleaning, so that the plaque and

tarter is continually removed before it can do damage.

I hope I have helped.

Kind regards,

Dr. Saad
What your dentist was talking about is not "bone loss in the teeth", but rather bone loss AROUND your teeth. As a Diabetic, you are more susceptible to many types of infections. Periodontal disease ("gum disease") is a serious condition where the bone around your teeth is being destroyed by the bacteria in your mouth. It is critical to have this treated to help prevent further bone breakdown. Left untreated, potential consequences include loose teeth, gum abscesses, and eventual loss of teeth. We successfully treat this condition everyday with a variety of painless procedures in my office.

Hope this helps.
The teeth are placed inside of the jaw bone and sometimes some of the bone supporting the teeth diminishes. In most cases bone loss is the result of untreated periodontal disease. Osteoporosis can also cause the bone loss in jaw which is more common in woman. Depending on the severity of the bone loss, there are some treatment available. Fist you need to find out the cause of the bone loss. If the cause is the presence of periodontal disease, the treatment of the disease can prevent further damages.
You asked what it means when your dentist has stated that you have the beginning of bone loss. This means that the bony structures that support your teeth are decreasing. Depending on the amount of bone loss, teeth can start to loosen, and if it goes unchecked that is the primary cause of tooth loss in older adults. So when a dentist diagnoses bone loss, the goal is to stop it or at at least slow it down. And if it's caught early enough, the goal will be to reverse all or part of it.

MJ Waroich, DDS
Bone lost is most likely the result of neglect usually flossing and especially in older patients who have not had the lifelong habit of using floss and routine Dental check-ups. This condition can be stopped but cannot be turned around any more than we can get younger. What's done is done and your best course at this age is 2 seek the services of a periodontist. Periodontist is a specialist who deals in bone loss and diseases of the gum and who will put you on an oral hygiene program that is much more individualized to your specific problem. I happen to be of the opinion like so many specialists that everyone over 40 needs a periodontist remember it is perfectly normal for the teeth migrate slightly as we get older but over the course of time and loss of teeth some patients experience more migration than others. This can lead to a condition known as periodontal disease and we want to keep these results to a minimum as we get older.
Unfortunately, bone loss is not reversible, however it is preventable. Bone is what holds our teeth in place so we do not want to loose too much bone. There are different reasons for bone loss, such as gum disease, traumatic bite, ill fitting restorations, etc.. The best way to prevent further bone loss is to determine the source of it and then get rid it.
Bone loss around the teeth will affect the stability of the teeth and will cause the teeth to wiggle and sometimes, tooth loss. It can be prevented from going further by getting cleanings every 3 months as diabetic people are more prone to bone loss.
Bone loss is another term for gum disease. Your teeth are sitting in your 'jaw bone'. The gums overlay that. When you get gum disease, infection from bacteria and tartar eats away the bone that holds your teeth in place. If enough bone goes away, your teeth can literally fall out. Early bone loss means early gum disease. Next would be moderate, then severe. Bone loss is irreversible. What you have lost, we cannot grow back, but it is possible to stop future bone loss. Floss every day, especially if you have diabetes. See your dentist at least every 6 months and if you cannot control your diabetes, see your dentist more frequently for cleanings (3 or 4 month recalls). Diabetics have problems fighting infections, gum disease is an infection. Keep the bacteria gone, and the infection will go away.
See a Periodontist for an evaluation... patients with diabetes are at higher risk for bad gums, infections and tooth loss.