If you have lost your teeth, your body will automatically begin to remove the the bone that used to support your teeth. The speed of the bone resorption relates to many different factors, including your own genetic susceptibility to bone loss, your oral health, how well you use your dentures, and how well your dentures fit, but, in general, it tends to follow a regular pattern.
How Bone Remodeling Progresses
The process of bone remodeling starts the moment your teeth are removed, but, at first, you might not notice how much your jaws are changing. Initial remodeling may be minor and may retain most of the bony ridge that supported the teeth.
However, over time the ridge that supported the teeth will narrow, becoming sharp and knifelike. This can lead to denture pain as the denture presses your gums down on the sharp bone surface. This denture pain will occur sometime after your initial healing from extractions occurs–unlike denture pain related to bone fragments, which normally occurs during the initial healing period–but probably sometime in the first year. This denture pain can be reduced by reshaping the bone, refitting the dentures, or with implant dentures.
Once the sharp ridge is gone, you will have a smooth bone that is known as the basal ridge. Initially, this basal ridge is large and sturdy enough to support and hold dentures, although there may be a problem with occlusion–the way your two dentures fit together. The ridge on the upper jaw, the maxilla, angles outward to approach the lower jaw, which angles inward. Initially, these two ridges may contact properly as they did when you had teeth, but as they shrink, the upper jaw may actually start to fit inside the lower jaw, which contributes to a sunken denture appearance. This is worsened because the back of the mandible (lower jaw) tends to resorb most, leaving you without adequate support for your face or bite.
Finally, the basal ridge may shrink to the point where it no longer supports a denture. The only option at this point is an implant denture.
Counteracting Bone Loss with the Denture Fountain of Youth®
Fortunately, FOY Dentures® are designed with bone loss in mind. Although there’s no way to stop bone loss completely, FOY Dentures® have superior fit so their forces are balanced and don’t accelerate the loss of bone as poorly fitting dentures can. In addition, FOY Dentures® are designed to make up for the loss of bone you’ve experienced so that you can continue to ahve a youthful appearance even as your bones are resorbed.
If you have experienced significant bone loss and are no longer happy with the appearance, fit, or function of your dentures, please contact a local FOY Dentures® Dentist.