January 13, 2022

How Tooth Extraction Affects Your Jaw

Tooth extraction is never a pleasant process and may even be scary to some. However, tooth extractions are a common procedure that is necessary to protect your overall physical and oral health. If you must get the procedure, you may be wondering about the effect of tooth extraction on the jaw and how it impacts your face. Many have heard that tooth removal can impact your facial structure and while this is a possibility, the reality is more complicated.

Keep reading to learn more about the effect of tooth extraction on the jaw!

The Effect of Tooth Extraction on the Jaw

Your teeth have roots that extend into your upper jaw, which includes parts of your eye sockets and nose. Therefore, when you undergo a tooth extraction procedure, your dentist must also remove all roots. Since the roots are a critical aspect of your facial structure, it’s possible to experience facial structure changes following a tooth extraction. If you need a tooth extraction but are concerned about changes to your face, some steps can help reduce this risk.

What Happens to the Jaw Bone After Tooth Extraction?

You may be wondering what happens to the jaw bone after tooth extraction? When you get a tooth extracted, the section of your jaw where the tooth was sitting remodels itself to adapt to the change in your mouth. This remodeling creates a steady recession of the gum line and bone where the tooth used to be. It is important to remember that not everyone will experience a facial structure change following a tooth extraction, but there is a risk. If an upper tooth is removed, it could result in some areas of the face appearing sunken, and on the lower part of the jaw, it could result in asymmetry or exaggerate an underbite.

How to Reduce the Risk of Facial Structure Changes

If you are concerned with the effect of tooth extraction on the jaw, speak to your dentist about post-extraction options before moving forward with the procedure. The three most common options to fix this issue are bone grafts, dental bridges, and dental implants. Most dentists recommend bone grafts after tooth extraction because the process encourages your jaw to produce additional bone thus lowering the risk of bone recession.

Dental implants could be the best option to replace a missing tooth. The dental implant process involves adding an artificial tooth and root to the site of the removed tooth. This option helps to stimulate the jaw in the same manner as a natural tooth and prevents bone deterioration. If you are not a dental implant candidate then you could use a dental bridge, which is the process of adding an artificial tooth in the gap with an attachment to the surrounding natural teeth through dental crowns.

Do Extractions Impact Tooth Alignment?

Removing teeth other than your third molars can change the way your jaws fit together. If the extracted tooth is prominent or impacts how your jaws open and close, removing it can make your bite feel different almost instantly. Over time, this extraction type could lead to a tooth alignment shift. The teeth surrounding the empty socket are subjected to extra pressure during your normal chewing and biting throughout the day. This can lead to your teeth drifting into the open space where the tooth was, thus altering how your teeth come together when open and closed.

Benefits of Teeth Extraction

While it may seem like teeth extraction causes issues, there are several benefits for having the procedure performed, including:

Bite Improvement

Depending on which teeth are removed, your overall bite and chewing capabilities will improve.

Cavity Reduction

Removing certain teeth can provide you with more room to brush the surrounding teeth thus helping to eliminate future cavities.

Improved Denture Use

Older patients who are considering wisdom teeth removal will find that the procedure allows for easier denture insertion and removal since the teeth are no longer blocking the dentures.

Teeth extraction is one of the most common dental procedures around the world. While there is a risk of negatively impacting your jaw and facial structure, the benefits of tooth removal far outweigh the risks.