What Happens To Facial Bone Structure When Teeth Are Missing.

When a natural tooth is lost, what takes place below the gum line may surprise you.

Our bodies are a miraculous assemblage of integral parts, from the skeletal system to the muscular system to the digestive system to the nervous system and so on. Each part is designed to operate properly with the support of all other parts.

The health of your upper and lower jaw rely on the presence of natural tooth roots. These tooth roots provide stimulation to the jaw bone in order to maintain a healthy mass.

Without your tooth roots, the jaw bone is lacking the nourishment needed to keep blood flow active. This, in time, leads to a decline in bone height and width.Healthy Jaw Bone vs Resorbed Bone From Missing Tooth Roots

The ‘shrinking’ process of bone due to missing tooth roots is known as resorption. Losing bone mass is what causes the ‘ridge’ that once held tooth roots to flatten over time. For those who wear dentures, a denture’s pressure on this upper or lower ridge actually speeds the rate of resorption. For those who sleep in their dentures, the rate of resorption accelerates even more from this round-the-clock pressure.

As the gum ridge flattens, the contours a denture was initially made to fit are different.  While denture adhesives or pastes may help, this shrinking foundation is what causes a denture to move while eating or slip when laughing or speaking.

The process of bone loss actually begins rather quickly. For example, one year after natural teeth have been extracted, denture wearers experience a 25% bone loss, on average. After three years, nearly 60% of the bone has resorbed.

A loose-fitting denture is a common complaint of  long-time denture wearers. As the jaw bone shrinks, eating becomes more difficult. Natural teeth have a biting force of 250 lbs. while the average denture wearer has about 5 lbs. of force.

To recontour a denture for a better fit, relines may be performed to reshape the denture or partial to your existing ridge height. However, these will give a better fit only temporarily and will last at less frequent intervals each time.

To see the extent of resorption you may have experienced, remove your denture and look in the mirror. Common signs of bone loss include deep wrinkles around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turning down and jowls that form as facial muscles detach from a declining bone structure. Your mouth may also seem more sunken in with your chin more pointed than before tooth loss. 

Dental implants solve many of the challenges associated with missing teeth and wearing dentures. There are many types of implants that are designed to accommodate various needs. For example, some are able to be placed even when severe bone loss has occurred.

Systems such as All-On-4 can be positioned in minimal bone on just four strategically-placed implants. Using specific angles, All-On-4 can support a full, non-removable denture in minimal bone without requiring bone-rebuilding procedures prior to placement.

In addition to restoring biting and chewing stability, dental implants halt the process of bone loss. They do not need the support of neighboring teeth and are designed to last a lifetime. Also, dental implants have an exceptional success rate and are a wise investment.

Begin with a free, no obligation consultation by calling 910-254-4555.

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