Dental Implants Help Keep Your Facial Structure
Can Dental Implants Reverse Facial Aging?
When teeth are lost, the facial and jaw bones that support the facial musculature shrink and the facial profile changes for the worse. This results in accelerated aging appearance that appliances like partial or full dentures can mask to some degree. Unfortunately, they do not change the continual bone loss that occurs when teeth are missing. Some patients do not see these changes and are surprised when they discover the aging effects of dental deterioration including sagging skin around the chin and jaw and hollowed appearing cheeks.
When deterioration occurs, the bottom half of the face looks collapsed and the chin appears to protrude. Wrinkles appear around the mouth, and the lips thin out. The upper and lower jawbone begin to appear smaller due to the residual ridge resorption process.
Prosthetics such as full dentures and partial dentures can help to improve appearance by filling in the missing structures with plastic gums and teeth, but since the plastic or metal appliances press on the bone in the mouth, they can actually speed up the process of bone loss, and eventually cause an inability to wear dentures or to place implants.
Jawbone is constantly recycling with different types of cells either dissolving or depositing bone. The balance between these two activities is regulated by the stimulation that occurs when teeth make hundreds of short contacts during a 24-hour period. The pressure from these contacts is transmitted through the periodontal ligament that hold the teeth to the bone. In response, the cells responsible for bone building are induced to activity in greater numbers than the bone dissolving cells. This results in a net growth of bone.
When a tooth is lost, the stimulation disappears and there is a net loss of jawbone. The total loss can be I the range of 25% loss in width in the first year, and 4mm loss in height for the coming years.
With the bone loss comes a loss of gum tissue as wall. This affects the airway for speaking, food transition during eating, and frequently the ability to use removable dentures. This jawbone recession then causes the appearance of sunken cheeks.
Implants promote the bone growing ability by fooling the body into thinking that the titanium implant is the root of a natural tooth. This not only prevents bone loss, but bone regrowth and regeneration, preserving youthful facial contours, reducing the chances of losing other teeth.
Since bone is alive, without the stimulation from teeth, which cause stimulation when they contact each other, the bone will recede. On the other hand, regeneration can occur with proper grafting and placement of implants.
There are different methods of using implants to restore missing teeth and facial contours. They range from implants that support removable dentures, to implants that support a single tooth to a full fixed bridge. Both methods are useful in different circumstances. The best method to find out what will work for you is to consult with and experienced implant dentist.