Category Archives: Dental Implants

Ordering Dental Implant Parts Online

I wear completely removable upper dentures that can snap on. I am on an extremely tight budget and it is starting to get hard to pay for my male retention caps. My dentist charges $30 for one individual cap. I see online that I can get a set of four for $25, which would save me a significant amount of money. However, you have to be a dentist to order them. Do you know of any place you can purchase these without being a licensed dentist?

Travis

Dear Travis,

Snap on Denture

I have a couple of ideas that may help you. First, I would just talk to your dentist and explain the hardship. While I understand that there is a need to mark some things up in order to cover overhead expenses, this is such a small profit margin that I don’t think he will care about selling them to you at cost or at least much closer to it. If he or she does, you still have a couple of options.

First, you can call around to other dental offices explaining your situation. In most cases, dentists and their employees chose their profession because they want to help people. You would not have to speak to the dentist directly. It is generally an employee who orders all the supplies for the dentist anyway. You may be able to work out a deal with them.

If both of those things fail, I see that you can purchase retention caps for dental implant supported dentures on Ebay from overseas dealers for about $20 a set. They do not require verification that you are a dentist. The only downside to this is you need to know exactly what you want including strength and resistance, as well as how to place them on your denture.

I hope this helps.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dentist Said I Have to Get Dentures

I have dental insurance for the first time and just started going to the dentist. My teeth are pretty bad and some of them have started coming out. My dentist said I have advanced gum disease and will need to extract my teeth and get dentures. Is it at all possible that I could get dental implants instead?

Susan A.

Dear Susan,

Implant Overdentures
Implant Overdentures

You are in a tough position. At some point, dental implants will be possible, but you are going to have to get that periodontal (gum) disease under control first. That will be imperative. After that, I would make sure your dentist does adequate diagnostics. That would need to include a CT for two reasons. First, you want to make sure you have enough bone structure left to retain your dental implants. Second, dental implants are a 3D procedure and you need 3-Dimensional images in order to ensure proper placement.

If you don’t have enough bone structure, you will need to have a bone grafting procedure done first. Then, after a time of healing, it will be okay for you to go forward with your dental implants.

What you will want to get is called implant overdentures or implant supported dentures. With this, you will have between four to eight dental implants placed and then, after a period necessary for osseointegration (meaning bone integrating with the implants), have a denture anchored to them.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foremen and Thimmesch.

Dental Implant Deception

I had a full mouth reconstruction. Much of it was done with dental crowns, but quite a few teeth required dental implants. All of my teeth were either extracted or ground down to nubs to make way for the new teeth. Since its completion, my crowns have been falling off, including those from the implants. I’d say only half the crowns are left. I had tried contacting my dentist several times, to no avail. When I finally went down there, the place was deserted. It’s like they all just left. I don’t know what to do.

Melanie

Dear Melanie,

dental implant diagram

It appears you have been taken in by a crook who realized he was about to get caught and skipped town. While you have a great case for malpractice, you’d actually have to locate the dentist first. None of this helps your immediate case.

You are probably in a lot of pain trying to eat. What you need is teeth. I’m going to suggest you see another implant dentist to have this repaired. Given your situation, I am sure you will find someone compassionate who will be willing to work with you financially while you get this repaired.

Don’t be tempted to find the cheapest dentist or you can end up in a similar situation. Find a dentist with post-doctoral training in dental implants and go from there.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

South America or Clear Choice?

I was thinking of going to Clear Choice Dental Implants. They want to do all-on-four dental implants which would not require any bone grafting. That sounds okay, but a friend of mine that went there said she had no follow-up and had a complication that required her to go to her regular dentist to have it fixed. I have another choice of going to Mexico where I can have bone grafting and implant overdentures for less than what Clear Choice is offering for the lesser procedure. Which do you think is the better option for me?

Leslie

Dear Leslie,

Implant Overdentures

I am glad you wrote. I want to make sure you understand that if you go to Mexico, you are not likely to get any follow-up either. Another thing to consider is that while the care is cheaper there, it is up to each dentist what type of standards they hold to. They do not have the same regulations we have in the United States. That even includes sanitation. There are no laws that say a dentist has to sanitize their equipment between patients. While some dentists will be diligent and careful others will not. If you develop an infection, not only will your case fail, but you will risk serious complications.

My sincere suggestion is you see a skilled implant dentist in the states. If you want the all-on-four procedure, that is fine. The problem most people have with Clear Choice is not usually their dentists. They are usually qualified. The issues I have with them are their high-pressure sales tactics as well as their tendency to do a one-size-fits-all type of care. Not everyone needs all-on-four. Plus, with that procedure, if one dental implant in the unit fails, the whole thing has to be completely re-done.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

An Adult with Baby Canine Teeth

I’m 23 years old and still have two baby canine teeth. I would love for my smile to not look so childish. Would dental implants be a good solution for me?

Mona

Dear Mona,

Everyone wants a smile they can be proud to share

Dental implants will be a good solution for you as long as there are not adult teeth underneath waiting to erupt. Let’s go on the assumption you have congenitally missing canine teeth.

The first thing you will need to do is open the space up enough to ensure that you have enough space for the dental implants as well as that your bite is in the correct position. My recommendation, at your age, is to use Invisalign for that. No one will even know you are straightening your teeth.

The next thing to consider is tooth color. If you are happy with the color of your teeth, then you can skip this step. If you’re not, the time to whiten them is before you have your dental implants done, that way the porcelain crowns placed on your implants can match the right color you want for your teeth. Crowns do not whiten, so the color you make them will be permanent. If you decide to do this, your Invisalign aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. If you are in a hurry, you could do Zoom Whitening instead.

Finally, it will be time for those dental implants. Once completed, you will have a smile you love.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Thimmesch and Foreman.

Should I Keep My Last Two Teeth?

I am about to have another tooth extracted. This will leave me with only my two front teeth on my upper arch. They are fairly healthy and should last a good while. Most of my lower teeth are still there. I am wearing a partial denture right now to accommodate the upper partial. It’s really uncomfortable and makes it difficult to talk. Because I can eat everything but meat with it, I rarely put it on, unless I am going somewhere to socialize. Some people are telling me that I would probably be happier with a complete upper denture instead of my partial. There aren’t really people I know who have been in this situation where I can ask them if they thought removing those last two teeth was worth it. Have you an opinion on this issue? I’m kind of torn and having a hard time making my mind up. It’s not like I can change my mind after extracting those last two teeth.

Brent

Dear Brent,

Implant Overdentures

I am going to start with a tiny disclaimer that I can only give you general principles here. I don’t have your x-rays and haven’t examined you, so I am strictly going off the information you have provided me with.

In almost all cases it is better to preserve as many natural teeth as possible. That being said, your situation is unique. Yes, those two front teeth are healthy, but they are all you are eating with most of the time and the stresses on them will be tremendous. I don’t think they will last as long as you are hoping. In your case, I am going to suggest that you remove those last two upper teeth and replace the entire arch.

Tooth Replacement Options

The ideal would be for you to replace those teeth with implant overdentures. That would mean getting four to six dental implants and then anchoring a complete dentures to them. It is the most secure replacement possible. The only real downside to them is their expense.

Facial Collapse

The effects of facial collapse.

If these were your bottom teeth, I would tell you to do everything possible to ensure you get the implant supported dentures. This is because when your teeth are removed, your body immediately begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone to redistribute them elsewhere in your body. With your bottom teeth, this is devastating. Not only does it age your appearance by decades, but your bottom denture simply rests upon your jawbone for its base. After ten or so years, you will not have enough bone left to retain your dentures. This is known as facial collapse.

Because you are dealing with your upper teeth, you are at a slight advantage. These are h eld in by suction and not your jawbone, so you will have more security and retention. Getting complete dentures in this case will be okay if you cannot afford the implant overdentures.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dental Implants Keep Falling Out

I have dentures and have for the last year. I thought I would adapt to them but really hated them. I finally decided nothing was going to change so I opted to get implant-supported dentures. I had six implants placed. In less than a week two of them have fallen out and I can tell a third one is loose. Here are my questions. Should I have to pay for the ones that came out? Do you think more of them will come out? Is there any way this can be fixed?

Clarence

Dear Clarence,

Implant Overdentures
Implant Overdentures

I will say right off the bat that you made a good choice in what procedure you chose to replace your removable dentures. Dental implants are the closest thing to having healthy, natural teeth in your mouth again.

Your big problem here is your dentist. He doesn’t seem to have any idea what he is doing. With dentists who know what they are doing, there is a 95% success rate. Your dentist has about a 50% success rate and that is just in the first week. Plus, I do not have high hopes for the remainder of your implants. I would not expect them to last.

To answer your questions, no, you should not have to pay for the dental implants that fell out. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think you should hold out much hope on the others. What I would like you to do is see a dentist with more expertise. I’d like him or her to examine your dental implants and tell you the cause of the dental implant failure.

Reasons for Dental Implant Failure

There are quite a few reasons why dental implants can fail. Here are just a few:

  • One of the major causes of dental implant failure is infection. Often this is the result of poorly fitting dentures.
  • Some dentists try to increase their profits by purchasing sub standard implants from overseas.
  • Inadequate bone support. This is completely preventable if your dentist does the correct diagnostic procedures. If you know ahead of time (as you should from the diagnostics) that you do not have enough bone support, there is a simple solution of having a bone grafting procedure done.
  • Incorrect placement of the implant. It is important that your dentist does 3-dimensional diagnostics, such as a CT scan so that the dental implant is placed correctly. Without that, there can be poor placement that results in serious damage such as damaging a nerve or perforating your sinus cavity.
  • Premature loading—It is important that you wait for your implants to integrate wtih your jawbone. If you don’t and put weight on it with the dental crown before integration, it will cause your implants to fail.

Once you know the cause of the dental implant failure, then you can formulate a plan to get the implants you need for your implant overdentures. I think you will be better off getting a full refund from your dentist and then following the treatment plan of a dentist with a lot more experience who can do this properly.

Then, you will have a stable smile that you will be proud to share.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Implant Placed With Poor bone Density

I need some advice about how to proceed. I went to a dentist about getting a dental implant. My dentist does not do them, so I looked for someone who advertised. We did a consultation, he took some x-rays, and said everything was fine. The day of the surgery, though, he told me when he went in he realized there wasn’t enough bone support. He put the implant in anyway. Now he wants to remove it and place a dental bridge. This cost me $3K. Should I be entitled to a refund? Am I stuck getting a dental bridge? I sort of had my heart set on an implant.

Ginny

Dear Ginny,

Dental implant diagram

I’m not sure how your dentist thinks he can get away with this. Of course you are entitled to a refund. When a dentist tells you he is providing you with a dental implant, there is a reasonable expectation that the implant will actually be able to support the implant crown. Yours will not, therefore as an implant it is absolutely useless. Your dentist should refund your money in full.

There is a bigger issue here too– Your dentist’s competency and integrity. First, if he had done adequate diagnostics, he would have known there was not enough bone support. This means he either was incompetent in reading the x-rays or he didn’t do the correct ones. Both of these mean he’s incompetent.

The other issue here is the fact that he placed the implants knowing there was not enough bone support. That is malpractice. If you decided to be nasty about it, you can get additional money. At a minimum, I think you should tell him that you want him to pay to get this done correctly. Don’t just let him give you a refund. While you can still get a dental implant and should not be relegated to a dental bridge, you will need an additional procedure.

Without the correct bone support, your implants will fail. There is a bone grafting procedure which can be done to build that back up. Once that is complete, you will be good to go for implants.

Best of luck!

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dental Implants for Hockey players

Help! My son is a recent professional hockey player. He recently had a tooth knocked out. We’d done some research and read that dental implants are the best replacement. However, his teammates who have been in hockey longer have told him that implants aren’t a good idea. But, we don’t want to leave the space open because he’s getting married in a little over eight months. Do you have any suggestions?

Karlee

Dear Karlee,

I’m glad you wrote. What his teammates are trying to prevent is secondary injury. When you get a dental implant, a root is surgically placed into the bone of his jaw. Then, after a time of integration with the bone, there is a dental crown bonded to the root implant. Here’s the problem with that for your son.

If he has another puck or hockey stick to the mouth, which is likely in his sport, because of the bonding of the crown and implant, it will likely damage the bone in his jaw, requiring serious reconstructive surgery to fix. However, that doesn’t mean your son has to go without a tooth until the end of his career, and certainly not for his wedding.

Here is my suggestion. When a tooth root is missing in a jaw, your body begins resorbing the minerals from the bone in the area. This will lead to serious problems, so you don’t want to leave the area of the tooth root empty. Because of that, go ahead and get the implant surgery done. This will place the root form into his jaw and protect him from bone resorption. However, do NOT have the dental crown bonded.

Instead, he can use a temporary tooth replacement that is removable, such as a dental flipper. It will give him a tooth for the open space, but if his mouth is hit again, it will give without any consequences to your son’s jaw.

Once he is no longer playing hockey, then he can have the dental crown permanently bonded onto his dental implant giving him a secure tooth.

Best of luck to both of you and congrats on the upcoming wedding.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dental Implants After Ten Years in Dentures

I have been in dentures for a little over ten years. To be honest, I have hated them the entire time. I knew fairly quickly after getting them that I would need to switch to dental implants, but just didn’t have the budget for it yet. I’ve finally saved up enough. Is it too late for me? My dentist retired and the new one said I’ve been in dentures for too long to switch.

Avery

Dear Avery,

Implant overdentures

Technically, it is never too late to get dental implants. That being said, there could be the possibility of needing one procedure to get your mouth in the right condition for dental implants to have a chance to succeed. If that is the case, why did your dentist tell you it is too late?

During Dental School, students are taught that it is important patients are confident in them. Because of that, many dentists do not want to admit when there is a procedure they are not comfortable doing. Instead of risking the patient’s respect by admitting they can’t do something, some dentists will simply steer their patient’s to another procedure they are more comfortable with.

It is never a good idea to pressure a dentist to do a procedure that is out of their comfort zone. The results are usually disastrous. This is especially true with dental implants, which is a very advanced procedure. The training required to do this well has to be done in a post-doctoral setting. Not many dentists invest in enough of it, which is probably why it is one of the procedures that tops the malpractice suit list. I’m going to recommend, you find a different dentist to do your porcedure.

Dental Implants and Facial Collapse

The consequences of years in dentures.

When your teeth were first removed for your dentures, your body recognized you no longer had tooth roots and, therefore, didn’t need any of your jawbone to help keep them in place. Our bodies are always striving to be as efficient as possible with its resources. To help with that goal, it will resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in your body.

While remarkable, this will have the unfortunate side-effect of slowly shrinking your jawbone. Eventually, there will no longer be enough jawbone to even support your dentures. This is known as facial collpase (pictured directly above).

For dental implants to be retained, they need the surrounding bone to integrate with it and keep it secure. If you don’t have enough bone to start with, that is impossible. You have been in dentures for ten years, which is enough time for significant bone loss.

The good news is there is a fairly simple solution. You can have a procedure done, known as bone grafting. It will build back up the bone in your jawbone. Once you have healed from that, you can have your dental implants placed and then anchor your new denture to them–a procedure known as implant overdentures.

You will have the secure smile you’ve always wanted with none of the problems and consequences that come with removable dentures.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.