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My jawbone is shrinking

Posted by iowasmiles

I’m concerned because I am wearing dentures and they are so loose that I’m not sure how much longer I can keep going like this. Although I am only 66 years old, this is my 20th year wearing dentures. I will not be able to keep a denture in my mouth soon. Chewing with dentures is not like chewing with your teeth. The bottom denture already slides around every time I eat. Besides that, it makes my mouth sore. Is there a type of denture that maybe my dentist doesn’t know about that would fit me better? Thank you.

– Nola from Illinois


Thank you for your question. We understand that wearing dentures can be challenging. And when you are losing bone volume, your concerns increase. We will discuss the best approach to resolving the issue.

Wearing Dentures Without Much Bone Structure

If you wear dentures but do not have much bone structure left, eventually, you will not be able to keep a denture in your mouth. Getting new dentures is not the answer.

Why Are New Dentures Not the Answer?

Your jawbone will continue to shrink when all your teeth are missing. Tooth roots stimulate the bone and prevent shrinkage. Without any teeth present, after ten or twenty years you end up with a condition called facial collapse. Your body is taking the minerals in your jawbone and, in an attempt to be efficient, is using them elsewhere in your body.

Building Up Your Bone for Wearing Dentures

Your dentures need a firm foundation, and the only way to support them is to rebuild the bone with grafting. After an implant dentist or an oral surgeon grafts bone tissue, and your body will grow more tissue to support replacement teeth.

Supporting Your Denture with Dental Implants

After bone grafting, you will wait for the grafts to heal, so the bone builds up again. According to the American Academy of Osseointegration, bone grafts can take up to six months to heal. After a healing period, you will be ready for a new denture. But this time, a dentist will recommend supporting your upper and lower dentures with dental implants. Otherwise, your issue with keeping a denture in will recur.

How Many Implants Will You Need for a Denture?

Four to six implants improve denture stability. But as few as two implants can support a denture . The presence of implants will stimulate your jawbone and prevent it from resorbing around the implants.

Are You Wearing Dentures with No Bone Structure?

If you wear dentures with no bone structure, it is best to request a consultation with an experienced implant dentist. It seems that your current dentist has not mentioned implant dentures as an option for you. So, find a skilled implant dentist on your own.

Search online for dentists with advanced training in dental implants. Ask the dentist about phasing your treatment or low-interest financing options if you need to pay for care over time.

This post is sponsored by Arnold MD dentist, Dr. Meredith Esposito.

An image showing a diagram of ball-retained dentures and bar-retained dentures