When all your teeth are extracted and they are not replaced by dental implants, the process of facial collapse begins.
This diagram, from the popular textbook Dental Implant Prosthetics by Dr. Carl Misch, illustrates the effect of facial collapse on a person’s appearance. The entire bottom half of the face shrivels and the upper lip sinks in, giving the person the type of appearance that we associate with advanced age. This process of bone resorption takes ten years or more. And the end result isn’t just that you appear very old—it can also seriously affect your health. With most of your jawbone gone, it becomes very difficult to comfortably retain a removable denture. With nothing to rest on, the denture slides around uncontrollably. And the pressure on the little remaining support area increases greatly, causing soreness. Some people end up not being able to chew anything substantial at all, and the restriction of their diet compromises their general health. In addition, there can be significant embarrassment if your teeth are that unstable. Some people in this circumstance will severely restrict their social contacts.
When your teeth are missing, your jawbone senses that and begins to take the minerals from the bone it now perceives as useless to use them in other parts of the body. Once teeth are extracted, the only way to prevent this bone resorption is to place dental implants. Implants send the same type of signal to your bone that teeth do, causing your body to retain that bone as needed support for the dental implants.