Dentures and Facial Appearance 1 of 4

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When women begin to show signs of aging, including the development of fine lines and wrinkles on the face, they may worry about the need for plastic surgery. However, many women do not realize that the changes in their facial appearance may not be due to skin laxity alone, but due to tooth loss and the use of full dentures.

jaw bone atrophy in a denture wearing senior female

How do traditional full dentures impact a patient’s facial appearance?

Tooth loss occurs in millions of Americans each year and may occur due to trauma, disease, or manual extraction. When these issues arise, many patients turn to prosthetics such as dentures. In fact, according to the American College of Prosthodontists, approximately 90 percent of individuals who have lost one or more teeth turn to dentures for repair and to restore function to their smile. While dentures may be an affordable and effective solution for tooth restoration, they can have a negative impact on the contours of the face due to resorption.

What is dental resorption and how does resorption affect my appearance?

Teeth that are firmly in the alveolar bone, or the jaw bone, help the body maintain the bone in these areas to keep the teeth firmly in place. Unfortunately, when teeth are lost or removed, the body believes that the bone is no longer needed. This triggers bone resorption, which may result in partial bone loss in the jaw. The body may also seek nutrients such as calcium from the bone as the body believes that this bone no longer needs to be maintained.

The result?

A sunken appearance around the mouth area due to gradual bone loss in the jaw. By using full dentures to restore the smile, patients will experience consistent changes to their jaw as it shrinks. This can result in prosthetics that do not fit or function properly after a few years or even months. Replacement of these restorations over time can become costly for patients.

How can I stop dental resorption from occurring?

First and foremost, patients who have teeth lost or extracted need to speak to their dental provider about immediate restoration. There are many different methods available for repairing the smile after tooth loss, including:

• Full dentures
• Partial dentures
• Dental bridges
• Dental implants

Because most of these do not impact the jaw, patients may still experience bone loss after tooth loss.

Fortunately, men and women can use one of these restorations to maintain their jaw bone and keep dental resorption from damaging the facial appearance: dental implants.

Dental Implant Dentist in Greenwood, Indiana, Dr. Matthew Walton, explains how jaw bone atrophy and resorption occurs after tooth loss and how dental implants help preserve jaw bone: (quick video: 51 seconds)

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Dentures And Facial Appearance