Could A 3D-Printed Jaw Bone Be The Solution To Your Osteoporosis Woes?

Posted on: 10 May 2016

If you've dealt with a "weak" jaw or chin throughout your adult life, you may have contemplated cosmetic surgery at various points but written off this option due to the expense and potential pain of elective surgery. However, concerns about your outer appearance may be rendered insignificant by the revelation that you suffer from osteoporosis that affects the bone in your jaw and chin. Left untreated, this loss of jaw bone density could cause your teeth to fall out or accelerate the advancement of gum disease while continuing to compromise your appearance. Read on to learn more about some advances in three-dimensional printing technology and facial surgery that may be able to help you achieve the jaw look -- and strength -- you've always wanted.

What treatments are available to help restore bone strength to your chin and lower jaw? 

Until recently, there were few treatments available to truly strengthen the density of one's jaw bone -- while cosmetic surgeons were able to place surgical-grade plastic or titanium implants between the bone and skin to improve the appearance of the jaw or combat a weak chin, these implants did little to actually help the bone retain teeth or rebuild tissue. Other alternatives for the individual with low bone density include being prescribed bone-building medications (which often carried with them unpleasant side effects) or even having a portion of his or her leg bone removed and implanted in the jaw. 

The advent of three-dimensional printing technology -- along with the ability to fashion 3D-printed objects from a variety of materials -- has led to the development of an artificial jaw bone constructed from pulverized bone fragments and a special type of plastic. This artificial bone is far superior to the other options due to its ability to be endlessly customized. Plastic surgeons can take ultra-detailed measurements of the areas of your jaw in need of reinforcement and tailor the implant to fit perfectly, minimizing the risk of rejection or repair. Over time, this implant will fuse to your natural jaw bone to provide a "scaffold" on which new bone cells can develop.

How do you know if you're a good candidate for artificial jaw implant surgery? 

Although this surgical technology is still very new and has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it's never too early to meet with a cosmetic surgeon to determine whether this could be a good option for you. In general, bone replacement therapies are most successful with patients who don't have other comorbidities that could impede healing (like diabetes or autoimmune disorders) or who smoke. An artificial jaw implant may also be a good option for younger patients who might otherwise be facing several reconstructive surgeries over the next few decades as the jaw bone continues to degrade. Contact a business, such as Waccamaw Dermatology & Plastic Surgery LLC, for more information.   

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