Our bodies are always changing, especially as we age. One of the most notable changes occurs within the mouth, as teeth begin to fall out and gums shift. These changes affect everything from your ability to speak and chew to your facial appearance. Another significant consequence of an aging mouth happens in the jaw bone, as the bone matter starts to erode away. But what exactly is bone shrinkage, and what does it mean for your dentures?
How Does Bone Shrinkage Happen?
The alveolar bone, which is found in the jaw, is what supports our teeth. In return, the pressure of teeth and acts of chewing help to preserve the alveolar and the rest of the jaw bone. There are several factors that result in this bone shrinking or losing density, one of which is tooth loss. The alveolar bone and the teeth work in tandem to anchor your mouth together; as time goes on and your teeth begin to leave your mouth, gaps are left in the alveolar. Since the jaw bone is no longer being stimulated by pressure from the teeth, it is considered “unneeded” and begins to deteriorate, or be reabsorbed into the body.
Additional factors, such as bacteria from periodontitis, infection, or misaligned teeth are also known to cause or accelerate bone shrinkage. However, it is primarily lost of extracted teeth without immediate and proper replacement that are the cause.
What Does this Mean for Your Dentures?
A poor denture plan that does not consider how bone loss changes the shape of your face over time and are placed over the jaw line rather than being anchored in place have been known to speed bone shrinkage. Since they don’t directly add pressure and stimulation to the alveolar bone and might cause sores and chewing difficulties, the bone continues to deteriorate and results in loose fitting dentures that again in turn cause more problems for your mouth.
However, with a good denturist who takes the time to recognize the potential for bone loss in your mouth, dentures may in fact help to prevent bone loss. By implementing denture implants rather than traditional adhesive methods, the missing pressure is replaced by the presence of implants. Since the ability to talk and chew properly is encouraged by the new dentures, the jaw bone is stimulated again, reducing the rate of bone loss.
When it comes to your mouth, you want to ensure that all factors are taken into consideration when moving forward with dentures. If you have any questions about dentures and how they impact the health of your mouth and your lifestyle, the denturists at South Calgary Dentures are always happy to help at (403) 254-5000.