Bone resorption is the process by which people lose bone mass. It happens to astronauts, the elderly, and especially denture wearers.
Bone resorption in your jaw can make it so you don’t have enough bone to support dentures, and may cause a fracture in your jaw. If you understand bone resorption, you can work to prevent it and protect your bones.
What Causes Bone Resorption?
We think our bones have stopped growing once we reach a certain age, but they haven’t. Although our bones aren’t getting bigger, they’re growing constantly to respond to our body’s needs.
Your body removes bone tissue, and it replaces it. This keeps your bones healthy and strong. It also allows your bones to change in response to stress. Your body will add bone mass where it’s needed, and take it away from where it’s not. If you’ve ever had braces, you’ve seen this process in action. Braces put pressure on your teeth, and your body responds by removing bone from one side of the tooth and building it up on the other. This works because the jawbone is one of the most dynamic bones in the body, designed to change in this way so it can let teeth grow in and shift if necessary to achieve a healthy configuration of teeth.
There are two types of cells that control this process. osteoclasts remove bone, while osteoblasts build up the bone. Normally, these two types of cells work together.
Bone resorption is when the process of removing bone goes faster than the process of replacing it. Sometimes, your body is doing this because it needs calcium, so it’s raiding the stocks of calcium in your bones. Other times, you may have a disease or condition, like Paget’s disease or osteoporosis, that speeds up the process of bone removal. It can also occur in places where a lack of stimulation makes your body think that bone mass isn’t necessary.
This process also changes with age, so that your body tends to create less bone as we get older.
Bone Resorption and Dentures
Your teeth play an important role in stimulating your jawbone so your body tries to maintain bone mass there. One vital part in this process is the periodontal ligament. When it gets stretched by the force of biting (or by other forces, like braces), it stimulates the production of osteoblasts. Once your teeth are lost, your body may begin removing the bones that used to support them.
As your bones are removed, the alveolar ridge, the bone that used to support your teeth and now supports your dentures, shrinks down and moves inward, which can contribute to the aged, sunken appearance that people have when they wear dentures. It can also cause your dentures not to fit. Sometimes, resorption happens so fast that you may need to have your dentures refitted in less than a year.
Dentures can actually speed the process of resorption. Dentures put pressure on your jawbone, but it’s not the type of pressure that stimulates bone growth. If the pressure is too great, or too uneven, dentures can actually speed bone loss in the jaw.
FOY® Dentures and ResorptionFOY® Dentures are designed to overcome weaknesses of traditional dentures that encourage bone resorption. This includes:
- Giving even force to reduce jawbone loss.
- Encouraging you to chew more with better fit and function. The more you use your jaws, the more likely they’ll be retained.
- Improving nutrition by allowing you to eat more foods. If you continue to eat a balanced diet, your body may feel less need to raid your bones generally, including your jawbone.
During your consultation, your local dentist can talk about this and other benefits of FOY® Dentures.