May 15, 2024

Jawbone Atrophy: What Are Your Options

The bones of your jaw help give form and function to your whole face. Your lower jaw (mandible) supports your bottom teeth and shapes your chin, while your upper jaw (maxilla) supports your nose and gives the middle of your face its structure. So when your jawbone starts to decline, it takes other features and functions with it. Untreated jawbone atrophy can cause complex dental and facial issues. Fortunately, dental treatment options for jawbone atrophy can prevent further decline and preserve your oral health.

Jawbone atrophy has many potential causes, but missing teeth is the major cause of jawbone atrophy. Regular biting and chewing stimulate your jawbone and help keep it strong. Without this regular stimulation, osteoclasts begin to wear away your jawbone, and osteoblasts can’t form to build it back up. Jawbone resorption arises, leading to the potential for more missing teeth.

If you’ve lost all or most of your teeth, the All-on-4® treatment can provide you with a new, authentic-looking smile in just 24 hours. But does getting All-on-4® with jawbone atrophy complicate the procedure? If you’ve been living with dental gaps for so long that some bone resorption has already occurred, does seeking dental restoration complicate the process?

Here’s the Next Smile Australia guide to bone resorption and how to treat it, including dental treatment options for jawbone atrophy and the practicalities of getting All-on-4® with jawbone loss.

What Are The Signs of Atrophy In The Jawbone?

Your bones naturally remould themselves over the years, removing old bone (resorption) and replacing new bone (ossification) when necessary. Yet when resorption occurs at a faster rate than new bone can replace it, this leads to weaker bones that are more vulnerable to injury. The decline in jawbone density is a striking and noticeable example of what missing teeth can cause.

Some common indicators of jawbone atrophy include:

  • Changes in your bite or your facial structure.
  • Distortion of your facial features: wrinkles around the corners of your mouth, sagging skin, jowls, a more pointed chin, etc.
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking.
  • Other teeth shifting out of place.
  • Receding gums.
  • Loss of lip support.
  • Headaches, facial pain and jaw pain, especially when chewing.
  • Dentures that no longer fit properly.
  • An appearance that looks older than your actual age.

Why Jawbone Atrophy Needs To Be Addressed

Jawbone atrophy dental treatment options can definitely prevent changes to your physical appearance, but their benefits are more than cosmetic. While preventing further jawbone degradation can definitely enhance your physical appearance and self-esteem, other benefits include:

Full functionality of your facial features

Jawbone loss can make even everyday oral functions, such as speaking and chewing, painful and uncomfortable. Addressing your jawbone atrophy and replacing your missing teeth will allow you to have a meal or partake in social outings the way you used to.

Pain prevention

Jawbone deterioration can lead to an increase in pain and discomfort, whether you’re trying to eat or sometimes even when you’re just resting. Restoring the functionality and strength of your jawbone can save you a lot of pain at a later date.

Prevention of further oral health issues

A weakened jawbone is the reason that even a single tooth falling out often has a domino effect that leads to the loss of more. A weak jawbone and tooth loss can result in problems like jaw misalignment, improper bite and temporomandibular disorder, among others.

Implant success

If you need dental implants, a strong jawbone provides a solid foundation for your replacement teeth. The stronger your jawbone, the higher the likelihood that your new implants will fit properly and function as they should.

If you’ve recognised that jawbone damage has already occurred, it’s not too late to strengthen your jawbone again and protect it from further damage, as well as gain a brand new smile while you’re at it.

Dental Treatment Options for Jawbone Atrophy

If you’ve been living with missing teeth for a while, there are options out there for you. The right dental treatment option can restore your smile as well as your jawbone strength. It’s important to remember that while dentures and dental bridges can restore the functionality of your teeth, they don’t prevent further jawbone loss.

Some common dental treatment options for jawbone atrophy are:

Dental implants

A dental implant consists of a titanium screw inserted into your jawbone to replace the root of the tooth you’ve lost. If you only have one or two missing teeth, this is the treatment option for you. Dental implants are effective, but the procedure can have a long and uncomfortable recovery period, especially if you need a number of teeth replaced. If significant jawbone deterioration has already occurred, you’ll need dental bone grafting before your jawbone can adequately support these traditional dental implants.

Ridge augmentation

A ridge augmentation is a procedure performed in the area where one or more teeth were lost to recreate the contour of the jaw. It involves placing grafting material in the area where the bone is deficient and securing gum tissue over the top with sutures. This procedure is performed to prepare the area for dental implants as well as to improve its appearance.

Sinus lift

A common bone grafting procedure for patients with upper jawbone deterioration, a sinus lift (or sinus augmentation) raises your sinus membrane to make room for extra bone.  Most commonly, the procedure involves a small incision on the molar or premolar region to lift the jawbone, and then the sinus membrane is pushed upward before bone (usually from the patient’s own body) is implanted. After months of healing, the new sinus bone becomes strong enough to support dental implants. Several types of complications may occur during and after the sinus elevation procedure, such as sinus membrane perforation, nose bleeding, post-operative pain, and swelling.


All-on-4® is an advanced dental restoration procedure that supports an entire arch of new teeth on just four dental implants: two at the front and two at the back in either the upper or lower jawbone. In addition to having a 98% success rate, the All-on-4® treatment uses the technique of placing angulated implants to avoid invasive procedures like sinus lifts and bone augmentation (grafting). Patients of all ages and backgrounds, including those with osteoporosis and reabsorbed jawbones, have seen positive results from All-on-4®.

Book a Consultation with Next Smile Australia

Next Smile Australia is an All-on-4® provider in Australia personally endorsed by Dr Paulo Malo, the pioneer of the treatment. We can provide you with a new, fully functional set of teeth in as little as 24 hours and prevent further deterioration of your jawbone at the same time. It all starts with a personal consultation during which we examine your oral and medical history and assess your suitability for All-on-4®.

If All-on-4® is right for your situation, our team will get to work designing a brand new set of genuine-looking teeth custom-created using the finest Nobel Biocare materials. Our dental surgeons will carry out your All-on-4® surgery at one of our industry-leading Super Clinics, which are medically regulated and come equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology. Our dedicated and compassionate team will prioritise your comfort as we deliver you the best possible results.

To find out more about All-on-4® or book a personal consultation to discuss your eligibility for the treatment, contact the Next Smile Australia team.