Decatur AL Facial Collapse
Facial collapse, a phenomenon most commonly associated with wearing removable dentures, occurs in patients who have lost most or all their natural teeth.
Characterized by a shrunken or sunken look around the mouth, facial collapse results in excessive wrinkling in the lower portion of the face and a marked decrease in the facial stature. The key to treating this condition — or, even better, preventing it — is understanding the causes of facial collapse and how it relates to tooth replacement.
Causes of Facial Collapse
When agitated by the motions of biting and chewing, the roots of natural teeth stimulate the jawbone, a process that keeps bone tissue strong and sufficiently robust to support the tooth structure.
Once the teeth are removed and those roots are gone, however, the body assumes you have no further need for this bone tissue. As a result, the body begins the resorption process, pulling minerals from the bone tissue and redirecting them for use elsewhere.
Slowly and steadily, the jawbone deteriorates until the characteristic bony ridge becomes flat, as is evidenced in the jaw simulation models seen here.
Treatment of Facial Collapse
Fortunately, dentists and oral surgeons can perform bone grafting to successfully treat this condition.
Despite the potentially daunting title, performing a bone graft to restore the jawbone is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure. Within a few months, the body integrates the grafted bone, restoring the bony ridge of the jaw.
However, unless you take steps to prevent this problem from recurring, the body will soon begin the resorption process again. The jawbone will deteriorate as before and facial collapse will occur again.
This is an unpleasant fact of life that many dentists fail to mention to their removable denture-wearing patients.
How to Prevent Facial Collapse
When the natural teeth are lost, the only way to prevent facial collapse is to provide stimulation deep inside the jawbone. We accomplish this through the use of dental implants. Fortunately, you don’t need a mouthful of implants to ward off facial collapse. In fact, most patients can avoid this phenomenon with as few as two to six implants per arch.
To help patients avoid facial collapse — and to provide the most functional and natural-looking tooth replacements — Dr. Drake and Dr. Wallace offer implant-supported dentures, in both permanent and removable designs.
Contact our office to schedule a consultation to learn more about our many options for tooth replacement to help avoid facial collapse.