After a two-year battle with gum disease, my periodontist and dentist recommend a lower denture. The periodontist has the gum disease under control, but I have lost so many teeth that saving the few remaining ones would only weaken them. I am concerned about how dentures will affect my facial appearance. I am an active 56-year-old concerned about my appearance. I have seen pictures of long-term denture wearers, and their faces sag. Is a wrinkled face unavoidable with dentures? Thank you. Raj from Arlington, VA
Thank you for your question. We understand your concerns about how dentures will affect your facial appearance.
Will Dentures Change Your Face?
When you wear dentures, facial changes can occur from missing all your teeth, but dentures are not the source of the changes. Tooth roots stimulate the bone, so when all your teeth are missing, the bone will shrink due to lack of stimulation. According to an article published by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, missing teeth cause the bone to shrink twenty-five percent in the first three months and up to fifty percent in the first six months. The pressure from a denture resting on the jawbone makes the bone shrink faster.
How Can You Prevent Facial Changes If You Need Dentures?
You can prevent facial changes with dentures by getting dental implants to support your denture and stimulate your jawbone. Implants are artificial tooth roots that a dentist surgically places in the jawbone. The implants and your bone will fuse, and your dentist will attach a denture to them. Two implants can support a denture, but four to eight implants, such as All-on-4 dental implants, will give your denture better support and stimulate a wider area of your jawbone.
Will You Need Bone Grafting?
Advanced gum disease can destroy gum tissue and bone. A consultation and 3-D CT scan reveal your oral anatomy and bone structure. After reviewing the CT scan, your implant dentist will determine if you need bone grafting to support dental implants. Without grafting, your facial muscles will lack support, and dental implants will not last.
Schedule a consultation with a dentist with advanced training in implant and cosmetic dentistry for long-lasting implants and a natural-looking smile with dentures.
Sugar Land, Texas, dentist Dr. Siny Thomas sponsors this post.