My Jaw is Losing Height

I have dentures and have for a really long time. This past year I’ve noticed that my jaw is moving forward and I think it isn’t as tall, I think it may actually be losing height. Is that possible? I have increased difficulty eating and sometimes end up with painful blisters. Do you know if there is something that can be placed over or under my denture to help with this discomfort?

– Gerald in Connecticut

Gerald,

You may not have been informed or be aware of a condition called facial collapse. Your jawbone is appearing to be less because you are losing it. Your body is reabsorbing the minerals in the jawbone that used to support your teeth. But since you no longer have teeth, the body is planning to take these minerals and use them in other parts of the body. This condition evolves very gradually over time (10 to 20 years) but can lead to serious problems.

Sometimes individuals may end up choosing dentures over dental implants because the treatment is less expensive. But one of the problems with dentures is that the jawbone will recede over time and cause particularly painful circumstances. Sometimes the bony ridge that used to support the denture has receded so much that an individual may not even be able to keep their denture in any longer. Bone grafting can be done to build the bone back up, but this can be a complicated and very expensive surgery. After the bone has been built up, a new denture can be made or dental implants can be placed into the bone.

One of the major advantages of dental implants is that the implant is surgically implanted in the jawbone. This actually stimulates the bone growth in the area around the implant so it does not disappear. A denture can be supported with dental implants to help secure it and help prevent facial collapse.

Hopefully this is not the first time you are hearing about this condition. Meet with your dentist to discuss your options, or if your dentist did not mention this long term consequence, it may be in your best interest to find an expert implant dentist that has been trained in treating individuals with facial collapse.

Thank you for your question. Maybe this post will help someone else out that is weighing out the pros and cons of dentures vs dental implants.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

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