Clinical appearance of severe mandibular resorption
Aetiology and pathology: Bone resorption occurs in the mandible at a faster rate than the maxilla and therefore the presentation of a severely atrophic mandible in a patient who has been edentulous for a considerable period is not uncommon. The aetiological factors for this process have been outlined previously.
Diagnosis: The clinical appearance of an atrophic mandible is the loss of height and width together with relative loss of the depth of the buccal and lingual sulci. There is an accompanying loss of attached mucosa overlying this situation. This has important implications for the placement of a satisfactory prosthesis as the retention and stability will be affected by the ridge form and the area available for support will also be reduced.
Management: The relative superficial nature of the attaching muscles to the mandible such as the buccinator, mylohyoid and genioglossus is a direct result of the loss of bony height. The genial tubercles also become higher in relative terms to the residual ridge and this may compromise the placement of any prosthesis.