Facial collapse is a medical condition that is the result of bone loss in the jaw. When we lose a tooth, the body begins to absorb the minerals in the jawbone that once supported that tooth. And when we have lost all our teeth, the bone loss eventually absorbs so much of the jawbone that the face collapses in around the mouth. Facial collapse can be prevented and even treated with the use of dental implants.
How Facial Collapse Progresses
The photo to the left shows the loss of bone that leads to facial collapse. The top jawbone still has its teeth, which anchor the bone in place. Bone loss is rapid immediately after the loss of the teeth, and then slows down. The second and third jawbones still have some structure left, and the fourth is completely atrophied.
Facial collapse makes people look much older than they actually are, and it can have more serious consequences as well. If there is no longer any bone structure present to support dentures, chewing efficiency is impaired to the point where some people are forced to subsist on soft foods which adversely affects their overall health.
Facial Collapse can be Prevented
Before the techniques and materials that make dental implants possible were developed, people who lost all their teeth eventually suffered facial collapse and its attendant aesthetic and health consequences. But now dental implants actually stand in for natural tooth roots, and their presence prevents the body from absorbing the minerals in the jawbone.
Of course, replacing every tooth with a dental implant is the ideal treatment because it restores the function, look, and feel of natural teeth. But this is not often economically feasible. Implant-supported dentures offer many of the same benefits by anchoring both the jawbone and the denture arch, improving how you look, how you feel, and preserving bone structure and chewing efficiency.
And finally, facial collapse can even be treated. Even if you have lost a great deal of the jawbone, the process of bone grafting can supply enough structure to support implants and give you back a more youthful appearance.
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If you’d like to set up an appointment, call our office. We’ll be pleased to schedule you for a full exam at your convenience. Dr. Price can then evaluate your particular situation to help you choose the treatment plan that will be most appropriate.