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Resorbing Bone: Mandibular Jawbone Models

Normal Mandible Photo
Normal Jawbone Height and Density

Moderate Loss in Bone Height and Density
Moderate Bone Loss

Severe Resorption Mandibular Jawbone
Severe Losses in Bone Height and Density
The Mandibular Jawbone models pictured here provide a visual representation of what can happen to jaw bone integrity as a result of wearing dentures for an extended time. Poorly designed or ill fitting dentures can cause long term effects that can go unnoticed for years and years.

The melting away or slow erosion of bone tissue, along with gum tissues, can occur over several years.

Although dentures are originally intended to be replaced every few years, thereby providing an on-going healthy fit and function, most denture patients nonetheless will wear the same denture product for several years beyond the recommended time frame.

For some patients, the failure to maintain the fit and function of their dentures can accelerate loss of critical hard and soft tissues. Failures that include loose or rocking fit, caused by loss of gum tissue, are a frequent cause of bone loss.

Left untreated (or endured) for too long can lead to bone loss that is so significant that it prevents the use of dentures .... not an uncommon problem for people who have used dentures for over 40 years.

Innovations in Denture Prosthetics

New technologies in implant dentistry, including especially hybrid "mini implants" enable denture patients to have denture products that function like fixed bridges. Specialized mini implants that require minimal surgery (almost noninvasive - no gum surgery requied) are placed in healthy bone areas that can be fitted almost immediately for most patients.

Specialized anchoring / attachment devices are mounted into the denture product, providing a "snap-in" experience when putting in dentures each morning. The implant devices provide a healthy stimulating function similar to natural tooth roots, thereby promoting bone growth in the implant areas.

Mini versus Traditional Implants: Implications

When bone loss is significant, as shown in the last photo.. mini implants are typically not an option unless significant bone grafting is planned via synthetic grafting products, chin block grafts, ramus grafts, cadaver and hip bone grafts or perhaps ridge expansion.

Traditional implants can incorporate grafting products to promote osseointegration whereas the insertion of mini implants requires existing rock solid, healthy bone.

Material, case study and photos provided by Dr. Ara Nazarian, Troy Michigan.

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