If You Have Jowls, Thank Your Dentures. Here Is Why…

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Long-time denture wearer?  If you suspect your face has grown longer, it is probably because jowls have formed on both sides of your face. This is often the result of facial muscles that have detached from the jaw bones once it shrinks to a certain point.

Here is why you’ve lost bone: When natural tooth roots are held by the upper and lower jaw bones, they provide stimulation to the bone, which helps to maintain its mass. When tooth roots are no longer present, lack of stimulation results in bone resorption, or ‘melting away’ of the bone.

Although resorption occurs slowly, pressure on the jaws from wearing dentures actually speeds the resorption process. Since many denture wearers also sleep in their dentures, this continual pressure accelerates the rate of bone loss even more.

When dentures are first placed, the fit can be satisfactory for one to five years. However, as bone loss progresses, it continues so the denture’s fit lasts at less-frequent intervals each time. For example, one year after the extraction of teeth, a denture wearer experiences a 25% bone loss. Three years later, 60% of the bone is gone. While the biting force with teeth is 250 pounds, an average denture wearer bites with only 5 – 6 pounds of force.

Today’s implant dentistry includes types, such as the ‘All-On-4,’ that need minimal bone for placement. Because these implants are placed at unique angles, just four implants (upper or lower) can support a full arch of non-removable teeth.

Although other implant types may require more bone, procedures that can rebuild the jaws to a healthy mass. Some cases are accomplished using bone generating materials. Others may require a bone graft. Upper implants may need a ‘sinus lift’ to ensure there is ample bone protecting the sinus cavity.

Regardless of the process, dental implants will enable you to chew comfortably and speak and laugh confidently without fear of embarrassment. Begin with a consultation and examination to learn what is required for your needs as well as treatment options. Call (828) 274-9440 to schedule.

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