Many people don't understand the effect of complete dentures on the jaw.

There is a natural reaction of the body when a tooth is extracted. When a tooth is gone, the body perceives this and causes the bone that had supported that tooth to be resorbed-dissolved away. The body senses that this bone is no longer needed, and the calcium and phosphorous are taken into the bloodstream and used other places in the body.

When all the lower teeth are extracted, then, the body begins to absorb the lower jawbone, or mandible.

Over a period of twenty or thirty years, as this dissolving of the bone goes on, the shrinking of the lower jaw can become severe. This causes several problems:

  • As the bone becomes thin, it becomes difficult to rest a complete denture on it. The denture will be unstable because it has nothing to hang onto.
  • results of jaw shrinking
    the collapsed jaw
    When the teeth are gone, the bone will develop a sharp ridge. When a denture is rested on this ridge, it can easily become sore. When jaw resorption is severe, it becomes very difficult to make a comfortable denture that stays in place.
  • The risk of breaking this lower jaw can become great, because it is so thin.
  • The jaw shrinking tends to give your face a collapsed look. The distance between your nose and your chin gets smaller and smaller, and your chin begins to look more pointed. To the right is a famous drawing of an old man by Leonardo daVinci. This is the typical collapsed face look of a person who has had no teeth for a long time.

One option for people who have had dentures for a long time so that their jaw has shrunk is to get soft dentures, with a soft liner that is more comfortable. Another option is dental implants.

By Dr. David Hall

Written by a cosmetic dentist!

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Sponsored by


Dental Websites

Good cosmetic dentistry requires special skills and extensive training beyond dental school.

There is a great difference between a good, reputable general dentist who thinks he or she can do cosmetic dentistry, and an artistically inclined cosmetic dentist. If the appearance of your smile is important to you, you need to understand this difference.

Read: What Is a Cosmetic Dentist?

Contact us to find out how we can guarantee you high traffic.


We understand dentistry because we're run by a dentist.

How Complete Dentures Make Your Jaw Shrink

Other Information about
        Removable Dentures

The listings below are paid advertisements and should not be confused with the recommended dentists we list in our "find a cosmetic dentist" section: