The results from a very unique and interesting study have linked a decrease in jaw size to the aging process. A cohort of dentistry students at Malmö University in Sweden participated in the research that spanned 40 years. It started in 1949 while the students attended the school, when plaster molds of their jaws were made. Additional molds were made 10 and 40 years later. The last molds, made in 1989, were taken from 18 of the original 30 students, according to the article, “Teeth Crowded In Seniors,” found on the Medical News Today website.
Professors of orthodontics, Lars Bondemark and Maria Nilner, analyzed the data and did indeed find that over time, the jaw shrank both in length and width. The differences were only mere millimeters, but it was enough to cause crowding of the teeth. Apparently, the degree at which jaw shrinkage occurred was unique to the individual, and is probably linked to both hereditary and anatomical variables. These findings can help explain why some older patients are seeking cosmetic dental procedures to correct overcrowding in their front teeth. It’s helpful, for both patient and dentist alike, to know that jaw shrinkage is normal with age.