Facial Collapse

It’s normal for your facial appearance to change as you age. But facial collapse isn’t normal. If all of your teeth are missing, your jawbone will progressively shrink, leave your facial muscles without proper support, and eventually cause facial collapse.

Photo with a stack of artificial jawbones in vertical formation, to show the progression facial collapse when your teeth are missing, from Oral Surgery Associates & Dental Implant Centers of Atlanta, GA.

Jawbone progressively resorbs when all of your teeth are missing.
Images on this page courtesy of
Dr. Carl Misch, Dental Implant Prosthetics

Effects of Jawbone Shrinkage

In addition to facial sagging, there are other concerns with jawbone shrinkage:

  • It makes it difficult, if not impossible, to support dentures.
  • A thin jawbone has sharp ridges that are easily irritated by dentures, causing pain and sores.
  • A thin jawbone canĀ also break more easily.

Preventing and Treating Facial Collapse

Preventing it

Jawbone shrinkage occurs when teeth are missing. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone. They stimulate the bone and prevent shrinkage and facial collapse.

If you need dentures, consider implant overdentures for a stable prosthesis and to prevent bone shrinkage and facial sagging. Read more about the benefits of this treatment on our implant overdentures page.

Diagram of collapse of an endentulous bite, Oral Surgery Associates & Dental Implant Centers of Atlanta, GA.
An edentulous bite (all teeth are missing) results in jawbone shrinkage and facial collapse

Treating it

If you already have dentures but they aren’t supported by implants, the pressure of the dentures on your jawbone will accelerate shrinkage. Implant overdentures help prevent further bone loss, as well as facial collapse.

When there is significant bone shrinkage, bone grafting might be needed to ensure that your dental implants have enough support. After a four- to six-month healing period, the implants can be surgically placed.

 

Request an Appointment with us to learn about your options for dental implants and preventing or treating facial collapse.