Facial collapse occurs when your jawbone volume is so low that it no longer supports your facial muscles. What causes your jawbone to diminish? And how can facial collapse be treated or prevented?
What Causes Facial Collapse?
Your jawbone and your teeth are interdependent. The bone anchors teeth, and teeth stimulate the bone as you eat or chew. In areas where teeth are missing, your body resorbs the unstimulated bone. An edentulous bite—all teeth are missing—leaves the entire jawbone without stimulation. As your jawbone shrinks, your facial muscles will sag, detract from your appearance, and prematurely make you look older.
Other Effects of Jawbone Shrinkage
Jawbone shrinkage affects more than your facial appearance. Thin jawbone has other disadvantages:
- Makes it difficult—if not impossible—to support a denture
- Is easily irritated and sore as your dentures rub on sharp ridges
- Is fragile and susceptible to breaking
How Can Facial Collapse Be Treated or Prevented?
Adequate jawbone volume prevents facial collapse. If all your teeth are missing, implant overdentures help by stimulating the bone. What can you expect with implant overdentures?
- Implants—artificial tooth roots, usually made of titanium—are inserted in your jawbone.
- Implants stimulate the bone and help prevent shrinkage and facial sagging.
- A full arch of denture teeth is attached to the implants. You’ll have a new smile and maintain your facial appearance.
If you have dentures that rest on your gums, the pressure on the jawbone accelerates shrinkage. Implant overdentures relieve the pressure and stimulate the bone to prevent facial collapse. All-on-4® is a procedure that uses four implants to support a denture. Dr. Thomas will angle the two rear implants to increase contact with the bone and prevent the need for grafting. For details, read our All-on-4 dental implants page.
If you have significant jawbone loss, Dr. Thomas will determine if the bone needs to be built up with grafting to support your implants.
Request an appointment with Dr. Thomas to discuss your options for implant overdentures and preventing or treating facial collapse.