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Can Dentures Cause Bone Loss?

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Take a second to imagine what the advantages and disadvantages of having dentures are. If you currently wear dentures, you may be able to fill out this list pretty quickly. But for those who have never worn dentures, the answers can be a little more complicated than what you might expect.

Some of the obvious advantages include a fuller and healthier-looking smile and the ability to fit them for your needs and lifestyle. However, you may need to consider how dentures and the process of getting dentures can affect your jawbone’s health.

Bone loss is a common concern for many patients interested in dentures, but when properly fitted, they can actually help manage and mitigate the effect of bone loss! But what is bone loss, what is the relationship between your dentures and your jawbone, and what can you do to ensure your jawbone health while using dentures? 

At MyBite, we love being able to provide our patients with high-quality denture solutions, and if you’re looking for help maintaining your oral health with dentures, be sure to contact us to schedule a consultation today!

Missing Teeth

After removing a tooth, the bone that supports the tooth, known as the alveolar bone, may deteriorate. This deterioration, also known as resorption, is actually the process of the bone “reabsorbing” back into the body. According to some studies, you may lose up to 25% of the width of your crestal bone over the course of a year.

In some cases, removing teeth can also cause the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). This can occur when the jawbone is exposed after removing one or more teeth as well as not getting the nutrients it needs from your blood. Eventually, the bone will weaken and die, sometimes causing pain.

What Could Cause Tooth Loss?

The topic of bone loss is wide and varied; there is a range of different diseases and conditions that could affect your jaw health and, eventually, lead to missing teeth and bone loss. Let’s take a look at periodontitis and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis Medications

Osteoporosis is a disease that can cause bones to become brittle and weak. Any person in any age group can develop osteoporosis, but it’s more common in women experiencing menopause.

To help manage it, some patients may need to take bisphosphonate medications. However, these medications have been linked to the development of ONJ, especially in those who take higher concentrations of the medication to help treat certain types of cancer.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is also one of the main issues for causing bone loss around your mouth. However, periodontitis is highly preventable as long as you follow a thorough dental health regimen, like brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and going for regular dentist appointments.

A denturist holding a set of dentures in her hands to demonstrate bone loss

How Do Dentures Affect Your Jaw Bone?

As we mentioned earlier, dentures aren’t specifically responsible for causing bone loss. In fact, dentures are your opportunity to mitigate this problem and prevent your jawbone from deteriorating too quickly. However, the process of getting dentures could also open the door for potential bone loss.

How does this happen? When you begin the process of getting dentures, you may need to have some teeth removed. However, by removing your teeth, you’re starting the bone loss process, and your gums need to heal first before you can start using complete dentures. 

To help mitigate this issue, you will need to use immediate dentures; a type of denture made before your teeth are removed that you will use during the healing process, which could last up to 6 months. After healing, you will start using your conventional dentures provided by your denture specialist.

Our team must take the time to correctly fit you for dentures, as ill-fitting or loose dentures can possibly accelerate the bone loss process.

What Can You Do to Manage This?

Our team at MyBite works closely with you to ensure your dentures are fitted correctly to help manage any bone loss that may occur while wearing dentures. But what can you do to help mitigate this issue even further?

According to some studies, you can help maintain your bone density by chewing or eating foods rich in vitamin D. You can also manage the risk of bone loss by not smoking and limiting the amount of alcohol you consume. If you’re experiencing any ill-fitting or loose dentures, please contact your denture specialist or dentist immediately.

Written by Wade Klimpke

Wade Klimpke is a past President and long-standing member of the College of Alberta Denturists. Wade leads a number of industry working groups which help advance and monitor old, current, and new industry developments. This has allowed him to gain a number of industry relationships with implant dentistry suppliers in Canada and the United States.
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