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.
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
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.