As we get older, the fat pads in the cheek naturally lose volume and may also sink because of gravity. This creates a common feature of aging: sunken cheeks. Unfortunately, traditional dentures make this effect more pronounced.

To try to counter sunken cheeks, some dentists add cheek plumpers to dentures. Unfortunately, this can’t consistently lead to a more attractive facial appearance. However, there are alternatives to traditional dentures that can give you full cheeks and a more youthful appearance.

closeup of an older woman with a sunken face

How Dentures Make Sunken Cheeks Worse

As we noted, sunken cheeks are a natural feature of age. That’s why people identify them with an aged appearance. But dentures can make them much worse.

First, traditional dentures don’t adequately replace your lost teeth and bone. This makes your face shorter, which puts the cheek pad further down on the face–turning it into jowls while your cheek looks thin.

Plus, traditional dentures have a stability problem. To try to increase stability, dentists place dentures further inward than natural teeth. In this more interior position, the dentures can’t support your cheeks the way teeth did, making them even more sunken.

Plus, traditional dentures don’t let you chew with much force. When you don’t chew as much or as hard, your jaw muscles decrease in size, which makes your cheeks look even more sunken.

The Theory of Cheek Plumpers

Cheek plumpers are an attempt to reduce sunken cheeks related to dentures. Basically, these “wings” on the side of dentures protrude outward to give more support to cheeks so they don’t look so sunken.

There are several designs of cheek plumpers. Some are permanently attached to the dentures. Others are removable. Why would people not want their cheeks plumped all the time? Generally because cheek plumpers have problems.

Cheek Plumper Problems

Cheek plumpers are an unnatural solution to the problem of sunken cheeks. Instead of making your dentures more like natural teeth, they make them less like natural teeth. Cheek plumpers add unnatural wing shapes to the sides of dentures. These wings can interfere with your chewing motions. You already have to learn to chew differently with dentures, but with cheek plumpers, you have another thing to work around, which makes them a nuisance.

Not only do cheek plumpers interfere with the function of dentures, they can make your dentures less comfortable. As you are trying to learn to chew around the plumpers, you can experience irritation of your cheek and gums. The additional weight of cheek plumpers can make them cause more irritation as they rest on your gums.

Cheek plumpers create additional challenges for inserting dentures and keeping them in. Your chewing motions can dislodge these dentures, and whenever anything hits your cheeks, there’s a risk it might knock your dentures out.

Alternatives to Cheek Plumpers

But there are ways to get fuller cheeks and a youthful appearance without cheek plumpers. With the right approach, your dentures can do their job and support your cheeks. FOY® Dentures have a more precise fitting procedure. This helps them be more stable so they can be placed in your natural tooth position to support your cheeks. Plus, they are designed to restore the youthful height of your teeth, helping rejuvenate your appearance, including giving good support to your cheeks. Implant dentures are also a good choice for supporting your cheeks. Because they are stabilized on implants, these can be placed in a more natural position. And we can utilize some of the insights of FOY® Dentures to make sure they can rejuvenate your appearance.

To see how dentures can help you look younger, not older, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with denture dentist Dr. Adam Hahn at Smile Columbia Dentistry in Columbia, SC.