Tooth Loss Causes Jowls – NOT The Aging Process!

Posted on Nov 12, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

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

Natural tooth roots, which are once held by the upper and lower jaw bones, provide stimulation to the bone. These tooth roots help the jaw bones to maintain mass. When tooth roots are no longer present, the 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 process. Since many denture wearers also sleep in their dentures, the continual pressure accelerates the rate of bone loss even more.

When dentures are first placed, the fit can be satisfactory for 1 – 5 years. However, as bone loss progresses, the denture’s fit will last at less-frequent intervals each time. This is why relines are periodically needed. 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 natural teeth is 250 lbs., an average denture wearer bites with only 5 – 6 lbs. of force.

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

Regardless of the process, dental implants will enable you to chew comfortably and speak and laugh confidently without fear or worry. Call (828) 274-9440 for a consultation to learn what is best for your needs and have your questions answered thoroughly.

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