Dentures and Bone Loss
By Joe McIntyre, DDS on September 01, 2021
Gum disease and tooth loss are common causes of jawbone resorption. Dentures can also contribute to bone loss in the jaw over time. Though most dentists offer traditional dentures, they may also provide implant-supported dentures that maintain the density of the jawbone.
Our team at Smile for Life Dental Care in Staunton and Bridgewater, serving Harrisonburg, VA, and surrounding areas, we offer high-quality, comfortable dentures to meet our patients’ needs. Our denture options provide you with beautiful and durable prosthetics that enhance your natural appearance. We will also guide you toward a denture solution that prevents bone loss.
How Jawbone Loss Occurs
Our bones are constantly engaging in resorption (removing old bone) and ossification (adding new bone). As we age, this process slows, making it difficult for the body to repair itself. In the mouth, this process is also inhibited by tooth loss.
The force from chewing and biting keeps the resorption and ossification process going in the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, the bone begins to degenerate, and the ossification process slows significantly, to the point where it cannot rebuild before resorption begins again. This process is accelerated when several teeth are missing.
Symptoms of Jawbone Resorption
Jawbone deterioration is a slow-moving process. It’s typically unnoticeable when looking in the mirror. However, patients may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Changes in their bite and facial structure
- Discomfort while chewing
- Wrinkles around the mouth
- Dentures that don’t fit properly or comfortably
- Lips turning inward
- Facial pain
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Loose teeth
How Dentures Can Exacerbate Jawbone Loss
Traditional dentures rest directly on the gums. While talking and chewing, dentures constantly rub against the tissue, but the jawbone isn’t stimulated because there are no tooth roots. This pressure can cause the jawbone to shrink even faster than before.
In this case, the answer isn’t to refit the dentures, this would only be a temporary fix. We recommend something permanent, like implant-supported dentures.
How Implant-Supported Dentures Support Jawbone Regeneration
There is good news for patients with an entire row of missing teeth: implant-supported dentures reinforce the jawbone and encourage bone resorption.
Implant-supported dentures require the careful placement of four to eight implants in the upper or lower arch. The implants act as tooth roots and stimulate ossification in the jaw. As a result, they strengthen the jawbone and stabilize the denture.
Patients who opt for implant-supported dentures reverse jawbone deterioration, early signs of aging around the mouth, and functional difficulties.
Are Patients Who Choose Implant-Supported Dentures Happy With Their Results?
Implant-supported dentures are the superior option for patients missing an entire arch of teeth. Check out these before-and-after photos from our satisfied patients.
At Smiles for Life Dental Care, our goal is to help patients achieve beautiful, functional, and healthy smiles. We are committed to providing patients in Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Bridgewater with individualized care that meets their aesthetic and health needs.
To learn if you are a candidate for implant-supported dentures, contact our dental team today at (540) 828-2312 or message us online to schedule an initial consultation.