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Consequences of Edentulism

When a tooth is extracted there is a natural consequence of bone loss. This loss of jawbone causes numerous problems for the dental patient as listed below. Unfortunately many of these problems do not give the patient difficulties until so much bone is missing that it becomes difficult correct.

If you look at the photograph (below) of a lower jaw that has undergone bone loss you start to get an appreciation as to how severe this can be. Looking at the jaw you will notice to holes that start off low in height but eventually reach the top surface of the jaw as the bone is lost. These holes are called mental foramina and are the location where the madibular nerve exit the lower jaw. When they near the top surface of the jaw the denture exerts direct pressure on the nerve. It is this physical pinching and squeezing of the nerve that causes severe pain under a lower denture.


Here are other negative changes associated with tooth loss:

 

  • Prognathic appearance (lower jaw protrudes forward)
  • Decrease in horizontal labial angle (upper lip flattens)
  • Thinning of lips 
  • Deepening of nasiolabial groove (crease under the nose) 
  • Increased depth of associated vertical lines (wrinkles) 
  • Ptosis of muscles (jowls, witches chin) 
  • Decrease in facial height (face shrinks = aging)
  • Loss of muscle tone and facial expression 
  • Increase length of upper lip (covers upper teeth=aging) 
  • Weak muscles decrease tooth display at rest and dropped lip line showing more lower teeth
  • Bottom teeth show an extra 1mm every 10 years
  • Eventual difficulty in holding a denture in place
  • Soreness of the gums under the denture due to loss of attached tissue 
  • Pain under the denture due to pressure on the nerves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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