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Age Change #4—Sunken Checks and Pursed Lips

Posted Sep 11 2008 5:53pm

Why ---Two factors can contribute to sunken check and pursed lips. First, broken teeth or restorations along with missing teeth can cause the lips and checks to lose support. More perilous is the atrophy of the facial muscles that occurs when teeth are lost. For instance, a person who has lost a significant number of teeth or has complete or partial dentures may only chew with 2 to 5 pounds of biting force. This compares with a person with a full set of teeth chewing with 100 to 250 pounds of biting force. The muscles in the face simply shrink up or atrophy. Additionally, with tooth loss the bone that supports the teeth withers away causing added loss of facial support.

How to Fix It —This may be more complex as the problems are now advanced. First, the teeth should be restored to as full set as soon as possible, this may require bridges or implants to replace missing teeth.

If partials or complete dentures are present, implants can be to stabilize them and increase the ability of the person to bite more effectively. In some cases, the dentures may be replaced with full mouth implant restorations that look, feel, and bite with a force similar to natural teeth.

There is one BIG mistake made by many people and dentists, that is waiting until their dentures become too loose, or their bridgework starts to get too much food caught beneath it before considering replacement. At that time, too much bone loss may have occurred. Bone loss can be corrected by having bone grafts—THIS IS NOT FUN AND IS AVOIDABLE FOR INDIVIDUALS PROPERLY INFORMED.

The Benefits —Your face will look and feel fuller and younger. If missing teeth are replaced with implants, often the bone loss can be completely stopped. Chewing function will be returned and the muscle tone can start to rebuild. See the blogs in the Implant and dentures section.

See our photo gallery for more information on veneers, cosmetics, and gum lifts


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