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Facial Collapse


My wife has no upper teeth and her face is sagging

By Dental Implants, Dentures, Facial Collapse

My wife is only 57 yrs old and she has full upper dentures. I am watching her go through periods of deep depression as we both notice that her face is starting to sag. She is very active and very conscious about her appearance. Unfortunate circumstances in life led to loss of most of her teeth and dentures were recommended 6 years ago. I will do what I have to so she can get her confidence back. Will dental implants help her face regain its shape? Thanks Tomas

Tomas – The first step is for your wife to receive an evaluation from a skilled implant dentist who will determine if she is a candidate for dental implants. Your wife’s medical history needs to be reviewed and diagnostic studies are needed.

Teeth are necessary to stimulate jawbone growth and retention. The jawbone supports teeth and facial muscles and tissue, including the cheeks, chin, and lips. When your teeth are missing and facial sagging occurs, it means that jawbone shrinkage has started. When dentures rest on the jawbone, it accelerates shrinkage. Individual dental implants or implant-supported dentures can help.

Dental implants help preserve jawbone. But they also require sufficient jawbone density to support them. When bone grafting is needed there are several options.

  • Autograft – This process harvests your own bone tissue. Depending on where you have adequate bone density that can be used for grafting, the bone can be harvested from the back of your jaw, or from your chin, shin, or hip. This is the safest, most effective means of grafting.
  • Allograft – The source is human cadaver bone from a reputable tissue bank. Donors are screened for infectious disease, and the tissue is thoroughly processed and sterilized. There are risks though, which are similar to the risks of blood transfusion.
  • Xenograft – Bone tissue is provided from an animal. Commonly, cow bone is used. Tissue banks screen the tissue for safety.
  • Alloplast – There are various types of synthetic bone tissue available. Based on your needs and current research, the implant surgeon will determine what is best for your case.

We recommend that you and your wife schedule a few consultations with skilled prosthodontists. A prosthodontist has two years of post-graduate training specific to the replacement and restoration of teeth. Prepare questions for the consultation and take notes to compare the options and risks explained by each specialist. Your preparation will help you and your wife make an informed decision about her oral health.

This post is sponsored by Naperville board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

How can I prevent facial collapse if I only have regular dentures?

By Facial Collapse

I always do my research, so I’ve been researching dentures because I need them. I keep reading scary stories about how your jawbone and face shrink after you’ve worn dentures for year. I noticed that many of the sites that talk about the shrinkage are from dentists trying to convince you go forget about dental implants and get dentures. I can’t afford dental implants. Can you tell me what it looks like when a person has had dentures for years and what their face looks like? Also what are the ways I can avoid facial collapse when I have regular dentures. Amanda R.

Amanda – After years of wearing dentures, your jawbone shrinks. When there isn’t enough jawbone density to support your facial muscles, your face begins to sag and have a shriveled appearance. The photos to the right of this page show how facial collapse looks.

When teeth are absent, it’s a signal to the body that the jawbone is no longer needed in that space. Jawbone shrinkage occurs when a single tooth is missing, but it usually isn’t noticeable in your face. When all of your teeth are missing, your entire jawbone begins to shrink. The reason that dental implants prevent facial collapse is that they are surgically implanted in your jawbone. The implants have the same effect tooth roots. They provide a signal that the jawbone is needed.

The only way a denture wearer can prevent facial collapse is to support the dentures with dental implants. Two to eight dental implants can be surgically implanted in the jawbone, and dentures are secured to them. Implant supported dentures are a wise investment, not only because they help prevent face collapse, but they also make eating and speaking with dentures a lot easier.

We suggest that you have a consultation with an implant dentist. You can ask questions, discuss your concerns, and find out if implant-supported dentures can be made affordable with you through payment plans or no-interest financing.

This post is sponsored by Naperville implant dentist and board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

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    Dentures and face collapsing?

    By Dentures, Facial Collapse

    I have been searching the internet for how to reduce dramatic facial changes when bone loss occurs due to having all of your teeth missing and wearing dentures. Most of the articles I’ve read are by dentists or on dental websites and they are offering dental implants. Most people simply cannot afford dental implants.

    How does the face look after the denture years of having all your teeth missing? How can facial collapse be avoided with a regular denture? – Vince

    Vince – The photos below show how the face looks after years of having all of your teeth missing. Facial collapse is progressive; it generally occurs in ten to twenty years of having all of your teeth missing.

    You have found so many articles pointing to dental implants to resolve facial collapse, because that is the way to prevent it. When all of your teeth are missing, your body resorbs the jawbone. Just as the presence of natural teeth preserves the jawbone, so does the presence of dental implants.

    Even if you wear dentures, securing them with as few as two dental implants helps prevent jawbone shrinkage. Implants support dentures, instead of dentures resting on your jawbone and accelerating the bone loss. Without implant overdentures, your jawbone will continue to shrink.

    Most implant dentists accept various forms of payment and offer payment plans to make securing your dentures with implants more affordable.

    This post is sponsored by Naperville implant dentist and board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.


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