Jaw is Shriking and Dentures don’t Fit

I have had dentures for a long time now and my jawbone is curling forward. Also, I feel like it is getting smaller. It hurts to eat and I have been dealing with these terrible sores on my gums. Do you know if there is anything that can be done to prevent my dentures from hurting me?

– Elizabeth in New Jersey

Elizabeth,

You are correct in that your jawbone feels like it is shrinking. You are describing a bone loss condition called facial collapse. Unfortunately, after all your teeth have been removed, your body takes the minerals that used to support the teeth and uses them in other areas of the body. On average, this process takes anywhere form ten to twenty years. Then, eventually the jawbone will have receded so much that you won’t even be able to support a denture. Your dentist should have informed you about facial collapse and the other denture problems you have brought up.

Even though dentures are more affordable than dental implants, many people are not told of the problems that getting dentures may cause down the road. Based on what you have described, your options are somewhat limited. You will need to have bone grafting surgery in order to build your jaw bone back up. Then, when that has been done you can either get new dentures or get dental implants. If you go with dentures, the same bone resporption process will happen again.

Dental implants offer many benefits over dentures. They prevent facial collapse because they are surgically implanted into the jawbone. This notifies the brain that the bone is needed to support the implant so it does not recede. Dental implants also look, feel, and function just like your normal teeth used to. So even thought they may be more expensive, they may be worth the quality of life in the long run.

Thanks for sharing your story.

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

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