I am only 53 years old. Having to get dentures when I did 15 years ago was hard enough on my female pride. Now I can’t even keep the dentures in. It is a humiliating situation. I went to my dentist about it, the one who’d originally given me the dentures and he said there isn’t much that can be done. I just wanted to write to another dentist and know if you’ve seen this happen and whether or not there really isn’t a solution for me. I feel like I am too young to have to gum everything I eat, not to mention how awful it looks. I haven’t been out in months except to see the dentist. I’m even having all my grocery and other needs delivered.
You have not been done a good service by your dentist. It sounds to me like you weren’t told about the long-term danger of dentures, nor given any options to them. Let’s start by going over what happened and why you haven’t been able to keep your dentures in any longer.
When your teeth were originally removed, your body recognized that and immediately begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in your body. It does this in an effort to be as efficient as possible with your body’s resources. That is great for resource distribution, but horrible for your jawbone, which slowly begins to shrink. Somewhere between 10 and 20 years, you no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures. This is known as facial collapse and what you are facing at the moment. You have lost so much jawbone that there is no longer enough of a ridge left to support your dentures.
Fortunately, there is a solution despite what your dentist said. The first thing you will need to do is build back up the bone. A bone grafting procedure can do this. After a period of healing then it will be time to replace the dentures. You have two choices when it comes time for its replacement.
Option 1: Get New Removable Dentures
Your least expensive option is to just replace your dentures with a new set of removable dentures. The downside to this is the whole cycle of facial collapse will start again. Giving you another ten to fifteen years before you are in the same boat again.
Option 2: Get Implant-Supported Dentures
If you have the money, this is a much better option. Sometimes called implant overdentures, it places four to six dental implants in each arch. Then your new dentures can be anchored to it. This will both give you the security you need and protect you from facial collapse. That is because your body interprets the dental implants as tooth roots and then leaves your jawbone intact.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John C. Theriot.