When all of your teeth are missing, it affects more than just the appearance of your smile. Missing teeth are a signal to the body that the jawbone is no longer needed to support the teeth. The body starts to resorb the bone, the jawbone begins to shrink, and minerals from it are used elsewhere in your body.
Endentulous bite (all the teeth are missing) leads to facial collapse.
Diagram courtesy of Dr. Carl Misch, Dental Implant Prosthetics
As jawbone shrinkage gradually continues, in fifteen to twenty years, there isn’t enough bone present to support the facial muscles. Nor is there enough bone to support dentures. So, your face has a shriveled or sunken in appearance; it collapses.
The diagram to the right is an example of how an endentulous bite (all teeth are missing) causes the face to shrink and have a shriveled appearance.
Facial Collapse Can Be Avoided
Facial collapse doesn’t have to occur. Dental implants can prevent it. How? A dental implant serves as an artificial tooth root, but it is made of titanium. When an implant is surgically placed in your jawbone, it is a signal to your body that your jawbone is still needed. So the jawbone doesn’t shrink, and facial collapse is prevented. As few as two implants can be used to support your dentures and prevent jawbone shrinkage. The more implants you have, the more effective they will be in preventing jawbone shrinkage.
If you have already begun to experience jawbone shrinkage or facial collapse, it’s not too late. Bone grafting can be used to build up your jawbone so it can support dental implants. After a healing period, dentures can be secured to the implants.
Dr. Justin Schwartz will be able to determine if you are candidate for dental implants, and if needed, for bone grafting. Dr. Schwartz is a board-certified periodontist who has successfully placed thousands of dental implants and provided bone grafting for many patients.
Contact our office to request a complimentary consultation to discuss your treatment options.