Facial collapse, a condition that results from jawbone deterioration, can drastically affect both your looks and your overall health. If you’re missing all or most of your natural teeth, you’re at risk.
The good news? Oral surgery can prevent the devastating effects of bone loss in the jaw. What’s more, for patients already dealing with jawbone shrinkage, restorative procedures can reverse facial collapse to help recapture a more youthful appearance.
Effects of Facial Collapse
When teeth are lost or extracted, the jawbone doesn’t have the stimulation it needs to remain strong and healthy. In time, the jawbone progressively shrinks, which leads to a host of concerns:
Sagging in the skin and jowls gives the face a shrunken, aged appearance.
Dentures become difficult or even painful to wear due to the jawbone’s decreased size and stability.
Denture problems make eating a challenge, and eventually only soft foods can be consumed.
Dietary limitations compromise nutrient intake, increasing the risk of illness and chronic disease.
Preventing Facial Collapse
The best way to avoid bone loss in the jaw — and, therefore, facial collapse — is to maintain good oral health and keep your natural teeth.
If that ship has sailed and you have lost one or more teeth or had them extracted, oral surgery to place dental implants can help prevent further jawbone shrinkage. Dental implants are embedded in the jaw and fuse to the bone. Consequently, they serve the same functions as natural tooth roots, stimulating bone growth and preserving jaw stability and strength.
Treating Facial Collapse
Dentists don’t always warn patients about jawbone shrinkage after tooth loss or tooth extraction, as problems may not begin to crop up for 10 to 20 years. So while facial collapse can be prevented, many denture wearers and others with missing teeth end up with significant bone loss in the jaw.
Fortunately, oral surgery can restore jawbone stability and eliminate issues with eating. Dental implants are an effective solution. However, when little bone is left, precision placement — using advanced imaging technology and virtual software to guide the procedure — is essential. For that reason, only oral surgery teams with extensive expertise and skill should place dental implants.
In addition, patients with a high degree of jawbone shrinkage often need another oral surgery procedure before getting dental implants. Bone grafting replaces lost tissue to provide a strong, supportive foundation for the replacement teeth.
Do you have missing teeth? If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area and want to avoid the damaging effects of jawbone shrinkage, make an appointment at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Our highly skilled, board-certified surgeons — Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield — have over 10 years of experience with dental implant placement, bone grafting and other routine and complex oral surgery procedures.
For expert advice on how you can prevent and treat facial collapse, contact one of our three northern Utah offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele and schedule an oral surgery consultation today.