The facial changes that naturally occur in relation to the aging process can be accelerated and potentiated by the loss of teeth. Such esthetic consequences result from the loss of bone. A decrease in facial height from a collapsed vertical dimension can also cause several facial changes. The loss of lower lip and the chin angle and deepening of vertical lines in the area can create a harsh appearance.
As the vertical dimension progressively decreases, the loss of teeth to open and close properly (occlusion) evolves toward a malocclusion. As a result, the chin rotates forward and protrudes beyond a predetermined normal, facial appearance. Your bones need calcium, which is a precious resource. If your body believes that your jawbone is no longer performing its assigned duty, it will leach calcium from your jaw to use elsewhere in the body. This process of resorption occurs after tooth loss because the tooth was providing constant stimulation to the bone. Without that constant stimulation, the body believes that the jawbone has lost its usefulness.
These conditions result in making people who suffer from tooth loss (edentulism) appear unhappy when the mouth is at rest. Short facial types suffer higher bite forces, greater bone loss and more dramatic facial changes with edentulism compared with others. A thinning of the of the lips results from the poor lip support provided by the prosthesis and the loss of expression.
In one study of 189 patients at different stages of jaw atrophy, the collapse of the lips and musculature were evaluated. It found that atrophy that included inversion of the lips and hollowing of the cheeks. Women often use one of two techniques to hide this cosmetically undesirable appearance: either no lipstick and minimal makeup, so that little attention is brought to this area of the face; or lipstick drawn on the skin over the border of the lips to give the appearance of fuller lips. The resulting bone loss creates “sunken cheeks” and wrinkles.
Loss of muscle tone is accelerated in the edentulous patient, and the lengthening of the lip occurs at a younger age. The attachments to the body of key muscles in the face, including the mentalis and buccinator muscles, and fusion of the mandible also are affected by bone atrophy. The tissue sags, producing “jowls” or a “witch’s chin.”
Your unique facial structure
Your jawbone, gums, and teeth help define your unique facial structure. Bone deterioration does not stop at the area underneath the missing tooth; it can progress to the bone under healthy teeth creating further tooth loss. Since the facial changes occur gradually, you may not notice them, but those around you may.
It is clear from the results that the loss of teeth can have a dramatic impact on the lives of some people. In one study, 45 percent of participants experienced difficulties in accepting the loss of their teeth. In comparison with people who had no difficulties accepting the situation, these people are more likely to feel less confident about themselves and are more likely to feel inhibited in carrying out a range of activities.
They are also less able to accept the inevitable change in facial shape which occurs following the loss of teeth. In addition, they take longer to come to terms with their tooth loss. Indeed, 36 percent failed to come to terms with their loss at all. This study indicates that the effect of tooth loss on self-esteem and self-image is not as short-lived as has, perhaps, been assumed.
How do dental implants help?
When dental implants are placed, the dentist is implanting a titanium post under the gums and securing it to the jawbone. The body reacts to titanium like it does to natural matter so once the implant is secure, the body will begin to deposit bone around it in a process that is known as osseointegration. This step in the process takes time but it is what gives your implant and new tooth the same stability that you have with your natural teeth. Essentially, the implant serves as a new root for your replacement tooth. The implant provides the stimulation that is necessary to indicate the jaws’ usefulness, effectively stopping the process of resorption.
The process of osseointegration can take several months, and during this time, you can wear a temporary denture. The good news is that the implant will begin to stimulate the jawbone from day one, so you will immediately stop the resorption process. Later, the new tooth will be secured to an abutment that is attached to the implant. The entire process takes time but is worth it, due to the long-term benefits of having a durable replacement tooth.
You need to replace your teeth immediately after losing them. Within the first year of tooth loss, you can expect to lose 25 percent to the width of your bone. Choosing this treatment to restore appearance is a positive choice no matter what your age. We are here to help you decide if dental implants are a choice you may wish to make.
Financing and Insurance
The office accepts most insurance plans. We can also you find financing, and we offer payment arrangements. We also offer occasional special deals on dental implants.
About Omega Dental
With our variety of dental specialists under one roof, Omega Dental Specialists Houston provides patients with treatment options for any potential need. Our dedicated staff is experienced in several specialty divisions, including Endodontics, Pediatric Dentistry (Pedodontics), Dental Implants and Orthodontics. Our technologically advanced office is equipped with some of the most modern instruments and machinery available in dentistry. At Omega Dental, we are open seven days a week to help you to take care of your oral health even if you have a busy schedule.