I have had dentures for ten years. I hate them and want to switch to dental implants. My dentist said I’ve had dentures too long, but I know someone else who got them after longer than I have had them. Is there a particular reason my dentist says I can’t?
I can’t say definitively why your dentist told you that, but I can take a very good guess. Dentists have varying skill levels and knowledge. Some, who have gaps in their procedural wheelhouse, will discourage patients from getting procedures they’re not comfortable doing. My guess is your dentist doesn’t do many dental implants, if any.
That being said, having had dentures for ten years, you’ve likely lost a significant about of bone structure. This is because when your teeth have been removed your body recognizes that and begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in an effort to use its resources wisely.
This has the unfortunate effect of shrinking your jawbone. The dental term for this is facial collapse. In all honesty, it’s going to continue to happen until you can no longer even wear your dentures. It is much better for you if you take steps now then if you wait.
Dental implants need that missing bone structure in order to be secured. Fortunately, having bone grafting done will restore the bone structure you need. Some dentists will use artificial or donor bone. Others will harvest the bone from elsewhere in your body, such as your hip.
Dental Implants After Dentures
Once your bone grafting is completed and you’ve had time to heal, you can then have dental implants placed. Unless you are independently wealthy, it is too expensive to have a one-to-one ratio of teeth to implants placed. Instead, most people will get implant overdentures. These can be done by placing four to six dental implants in each arch and then securing dentures to them.
Advantages of Dental Implants
The first thing you’ll notice is the dramatic increase in your chewing capacity. Even the best fitting dentures reduce your chewing capacity by 50%. With the implants placed. you’ll be back to being able to eat whatever you want. It’s like having your natural healthy teeth back.
While removable dentures slip and slide as well as have food and things get underneath them, that doesn’t happen with implant-supported dentures. They are completely secure.
Their biggest advantage, though, is the implants serve as prosthetic tooth roots. This helps your body to recognize there is still a need to keep your jawbone, thereby preventing facial collapse.
This blog is brought to you by Glendale, CA Dentist Dr. Robert Thein.