It feels like my jaw has started getting smaller. I first noticed that my dentures don’t fit as well as they used to. I may be paranoid, but when I look in the mirror, my jaw seems smaller. Is my jaw shrinking? Can it be stopped?
I wish I could tell you that you are only imagining things and there is nothing to worry about, but that is not true. Your jawbone really is shrinking. When you first had your teeth removed for dentures, it signaled to your brain there aren’t teeth there any longer.
Our bodies are remarkably efficient, so it determined without teeth roots to support, the minerals in your jawbone would be more useful elsewhere and began to resorb them. This slowly shrinks your jaw. After a number of years, there isn’t enough jawbone left to support your dentures and they’ll no longer stay in. This is known as facial collapse in dental circles and your original dentist who placed the dentures should have warned you about it.
Implant Supported Dentures—the Solution to Facial Collapse
The first thing you’ll have to do is build back any lost bone structure. This can be done with an outpatient procedure known as bone grafting. After that, you have two choices.
The first choice is to go back to wearing completely removable dentures. I don’t actually recommend this because the same cycle of bone loss will start again. However, it is an option.
The second choice is to have dental implants placed in your jaw and then anchor the dentures to them. This is known as implant supported dentures or implant overdentures. The implants in your jaw serve as the roots of your teeth, letting your body know there are teeth in place and thereby preserving your jawbone. Replacing teeth with dental implants is becoming the standard of care.
You’ll find there are lifestyle benefits as well. Your chewing capacity will greatly increase. You can go back to eating anything you want. They are easier to care for, you simply brush and floss as you would with healthy teeth. You’ll never have to take your teeth out at night.
This blog is brought to you by San Antonio Dentist Dr. Imam.