Category Archives: Dentures

Do Dental Implants Look Better Than Dentures?

I had dentures made a few weeks ago and they look awful. My dentist insists they’re fine, but I think my old messed up teeth even looked better. I did dentures to save money. Now I’m thinking maybe if I got the dental implants instead, they’d look better. Is that true or would it just be more money for the same ugly teeth?

Monica

Dear Monica,

Implant Overdentures

I’m glad you wrote. While I think dental implants are a good change. It is not for the reasons you would think. Whether or not your new smile looks beautiful or even just natural does not depend on whether you had dentures versus dental implants. The thing that makes the biggest difference is the cosmetic skills of the dentist doing your procedure. You could have a stunning smile with dentures and an ugly one with implants or vice-versa.

What you need is to find a skilled cosmetic dentist. The best cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited. I would start there. While you could just have dentures re-made more beautifully if you can at all afford dental implants I am going to highly suggest you get them. There are serious long-term consequences to dentures that I hope your dentist warned you about.

The Danger of Dentures

When your teeth were removed, you body recognized that you no longer had any tooth roots in your jawbone. In an effort to be as efficient as possible with your body’s resources, it immediately began to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere in your body where it perceived they would be more useful. While an excellent method of resource conservation it will result in your jawbone shrinking.

After about ten years, your jawbone will shrink so much that your appearance will be aged by decades. Even worse, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures, leaving you without a way to chew your food.

The way to prevent this is by getting implant overdentures. This takes between four to eight dental implants and anchors a denture to them. The dental implants serve as prosthetic tooth roots and signal to your body that you have teeth and need the minerals in order to retain your jaw.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Does She Deserve a Refund?

I had four mini implants done to support a denture. It was time for the denture to be done, but I knew I’d be relocating. I asked my dentist how long it would take for the overdenture to be made and he told me three weeks. Nine and a half weeks later (and a week before I have to move), I finally get the denture and it doesn’t fit. Knowing I have to leave, he sort of forces it in. I thought I could make it work, but I could even eat soft food. I called back to see what we could do about it, but he wasn’t in. I ended up calling another dentist for an “emergency” second opinion. He said there are two problems. First, the holes around the attachment were not drilled out properly. Second, the denture teeth themselves are slanted the wrong way. He doesn’t think there is any way it can be fixed in the time I have left in this state. Is it appropriate for me to ask for a refund or will I have to travel back and forth to get this finished here?

Rebekah

Dear Rebekah,

dental implants anchoring dentures
Implant supported dentures

You definitely have the right to ask for a refund. When he told you he could do it in 3 weeks, that was the equivalent of a contract. He broke that contract by a large margin. Then, when he did provide your denture it didn’t fit. From a legal standpoint, you are in good shape.

There’s the dental standpoint as well. Dental implants aren’t a recognized specialty. Because of that, many dentists are doing a procedure they are not qualified to do. It is one of the leading areas of dental malpractice.

Three weeks was a right and reasonable time to get your dentures done. Because he couldn’t, nor could he get them done correctly in a much longer period of time, I have a high suspicion he is in over his head.

Getting Your Refund

You are in a good place here with the leverage you have. He’s messed up from a legal and dental standpoint. You’ve already done this. For those who haven’t, it is always helpful to make sure it is a blind second opinion. This means you don’t let the second dentist know who the first dentist is. Simply let him look at the work which was done and give his thoughts.

Once you have secured the second opinion, then you go to the dentist and simply ask for a refund. Hopefully, your dentist will recognize the flaw in his technique and have the integrity to make things right. But what if he doesn’t?

If he doesn’t, use your leverage.

Tell him you will write a bad review for him. Research shows that somewhere between 60 -65% of people rely on reviews to determine where to go to the dentist. He should care about the type of reviews he is getting. You could even tell him you’d be willing to do a good review about his willingness to cooperate with you when your denture didn’t work out.

If that doesn’t work, you could tell him you will have to speak with the dental board about the situation. I’m sure the second opinion dentist can help you show the level of incompetence that went into your case. That should sober him up a bit.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Should I Save My Last Two Upper Teeth?

I have all of my bottom teeth and they are still healthy. My upper teeth, on the other hand, are a complete disaster. I only have my two front teeth left of those. Currently, I’m wearing two upper partials, but they’re uncomfortable and make it hard to speak. Because I don’t like them, I am only wearing them when I have to chew things that require grinding, such as meat and nuts, etc. Recently my dentist mentioned he thought I’d be happier with a full upper denture. I’d always thought it was better to save your natural teeth, but I’m all for being happier. Which is the way to go? One other piece of information that may be helpful is I have an underbite.

Danny

Dear Danny,

completely removable dentures

First, my disclaimer: I have not examined your bite and therefore can only give general guidelines. As you mentioned earlier, under most circumstances, saving your natural teeth is the ideal. However, you are using those last two teeth for most of your eating. Combining that with your underbite means those two teeth are under a lot of stress and not likely to last much longer, even if they are healthy now.

The idea solution, in that case, is to remove those last two upper teeth and get implant-supported dentures. These place dental implants into the arch which mimic the roots of your teeth and help prevent facial collapse.

However, having implants isn’t nearly as important on your upper arch as it is your lower arch. Upper dentures are held in by suction and don’t have a lot of movement.

Lower dentures just rest on the ridge of your jawbone. The longer you are in dentures, the more your jawbone shrinks, hence the facial collapse I mentioned above. Eventually, there isn’t enough jawbone to retain your dentures.

In my mind, the priority would be to keep the lower teeth as healthy as possible. Having dentures on the upper arch will actually create less wear on the lower arch and will help preserve those lower teeth, so long as you are keeping up with adequate oral health habits.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Dentist or Oral Surgeon for denture Extractions

Dentures

I have avoided the dentist my entire life. As a result, my mouth is a wreck and I need to get my teeth extracted for dentures. Is a dentist able to do the extractions or should I see an oral surgeon? I want to go to someone qualified, though I’m thinking an oral surgeon can knock me out to deal with my anxiety. What do you think?

Patrick

Dear Patrick,

You can go to a dentist to have the extractions done, which will save you quite a bit of money over an oral surgeon. Denture extraction surgery should be in the wheelhouse of most dentists. One caution though, I would only have a dentist do it who is able to do both the extraction and the denture placement. Ask them what they normally do in this type of situation. You don’t want a dentist doing this if they normally send someone to an oral surgeon.

Dealing with Dental Anxiety

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair

One word about your dental anxiety. You should not have to pay the extra money to an oral surgeon in order to have a stress-free/ anxiety-free procedure. Instead, I would like to recommend in addition to the other issue I mentioned, you also look for a dentist who offers dental sedation options.

In your situation, I believe you would do better with something such as oral conscious sedation. This is administered with a pill and will completely relax you.

You should be aware, however, you will so relaxed that you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You will be too loopy to drive. They will also need to stay with you for a few hours until you are both lucid and steady on your feet again.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Dentures Won’t Stay IN

I’ve had dentures for many years. The ridge on my jawbone is almost gone and I just cannot keep them in any more, even when using those awful adhesives. Is there a solution?

Miranda

Dear Miranda,

before and after side images of a woman suffering from facial collapse
Years with Dentures will Lead to Facial Collapse.

What is happening is you are faced with what is called facial collapse. When you first have your teeth removed, your body notices that. In an effort to be as efficient with its resources as possible, it begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere in your body where it perceives the minerals will be more useful.

I don’t know if your dentist warned you about this when you first had to make a choice about your tooth replacements. If you had gotten implant-supported dentures, this could have prevented the situation you are in. This is because the dental implants provide prosthetic tooth roots which will signal to your brain that you still need your jawbone.

The good news is there is a solution for you. The first thing you’ll need to have done is a bone grafting procedure. This is an outpatient procedure that will build the bone back up in your jaw.

Once that is done, you have two choices. First, you can just get dentures made again. Though, bear in mind, you will immediately begin losing your jawbone again.

A Better Option Than Dentures

dentures about to be secured to six dental implants
Implant Overdentures

Your second option is to get implant overdentures. You would have four to six dental implants placed in your jaw, then your dentures will be anchored to them. Not only will it prevent facial collapse, but you will also find your quality of life goes up significantly as well.

Even the best fitting dentures reduce your chewing capacity by 50%. Once you have dentures anchored, you’ll find you can once again eat anything you want!

Getting a Gorgeous Smile with Dentures

Whether you get removable dentures or implant-supported dentures, you’ll still want a smile you will feel proud to share with the world. To be certain of that, you’ll want to be certain you get an expert cosmetic dentist. They can create the smile of your dreams for you.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Dentist Wants to Remove all My Son’s Teeth

My son is only 22 years old and his teeth are a complete mess from his meth addictiion. We recently learned of his addiction and moved him back home. I noticed he was having trouble eating so I took him to my dentist. The treatment plan he’s recommending is just removing all his remaining teeth and fitting him for dentures. There has to be a better option. Do you have any guidance for me?

Mona

Dear Mona,

Dentures
Complete dentures

I am sorry for what both you and your son are facing. Addictions are horrific on both those with the addictions and the love ones trying to help them.

I don’t think this is the best dentist to serve your son. The treatment he’s recommending, removable dentures, will be easy for him but an absolute disaster for your son.

Once his teeth are removed, his body will start resorbing the mineral’s in his jawbone. After about ten years or so, he’ll have lost so much of his bone structure that it will eventually become impossible for him to even retain his dentures anymore. This is known as facial collapse.

In order for him to eat after that, he’ll need bone grafting surgery and then his dentures remade. The process will start all over again.

Two Alternative Solutions

Solution One:

Save as many teeth as possible. It will take work. Work your current dentist seems to not deem your son worthy of. I’m sorry. I don’t agree with that. Treating someone like they deserve to be healthy can only serve to help them obtain that. Treating him like he doesn’t desrve real effort will only hurt both his health and his motivation to get better.

There is a possibility the teeth can’t be saved. I haven’t examined your son. However, even in that case, complete dentures are the wrong treatment.

Solution Two:

In that case, you’ll want to find a dentist who can provide your son with implant overdentures. This uses between four to six dental implants and then anchors a denture to them.

Having dental implants to secure the dentures will not only give him a much more efficient chewing capacity. Additionally, the implants serve as prosthetic tooth roots which will tell his body that he needs his jawbone to remain intact. This protects your son from the dangers of facial collapse I mentioned earlier.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Can’t Afford the Number of Implants My Dentist Requires

I am losing my teeth and wanted to get implant-supported dentures. My dentist is insisting I get twelve, six per arch. He says it is the only way they will be completely stable. If I can’t afford that am I stuck with regular removable dentures?

Daisy

Dear Daisy,

illustration of snap on dentures

I’m sorry he’s pressuring you. While it is true that the more dental implants you use to anchor the dentures, they more secure they’ll be. However, implant overdentures can be done with four implants per arch and give you both security from them slipping as well as protection from facial collapse.

If that is out of reach financially, you still have options before having to revert to complete removable dentures.

You could get snap-on dentures, which can use as few as two implants. They will move, but won’t fall out on you. They also give you some protection from facial collapse where the two implants are. This may get you started and you can save up for full implant-supported dentures as you are able.

It doesn’t sound like this is the best dentist for your situation. Some dentists will only do the ideal treatment, not caring about the hardship it puts on their patients who may not have a budget that can accommodate the ideal. In your place, I’d look for a more compassionate dentist.

He was ethically obligated to give you all your options, even if he wasn’t willing to perform them. This also bothers me. As he may not be willing to do the procedure you need for your financial constraints, this is the perfect time for you to find another dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

New Denture Won’t Stay In

I’ve had a new denture for a month. He did an impression, a wax bite, and two wax try-ins. Even after the second wax try-in, they weren’t staying in, but he said that’s because it’s not the real denture. But, when the real dentures came, it still didn’t want to stay in. At first, my dentist suggested I give it time for my gums to adjust. When that didn’t work, he did some grinding. That didn’t help either. Now he’s talking about a reline. Will that help any more than the others or is it another useless step?

Marcy

Dear Marcy,

Dentures

I’m sorry you are having so much trouble with your denture. I don’t know why your dentist suggested your gums would adjust. That wouldn’t happen. Your gums are what they are. The best I can think is it was a stalling tactic. The big problem with this fit seems to be he skipped a step. However, dentists commonly do this. Most of the time it results in a decent fitting denture. In yours, it didn’t.

When the impression is made, we’re taught to do a two-step impression. First, with a heavy impression material and then with a light material. Some dentists will just do a one-step with a medium material. This is to save money. Most people who get dentures are looking for the lowest cost solution. Doing a one-step impression allows them to charge less, bringing in more business.

The reline should help with the fit quite a bit. This is a better step to take than the others you’ve had done so far. If he hasn’t done the new impression yet, make sure you ask him to do a two-step, which he should have done to begin with.

The Danger with Dentures

Even the best fitting dentures will reduce your chewing capacity by 50%, so I wouldn’t expect the secure feel you are used to with your natural teeth, though of course, they should actually stay in.

There is a bigger problem with dentures, though. When your teeth were removed, your body recognized that. In a continual effort to be efficient with its resources, your body will resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in your body where it deems they’d be more useful.

The big problem this causes is the gradual shrinking of your jawbone. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone left for you retain your denture. This is known as facial collapse. There is a way to prevent this.

If you get implant overdentures, it tricks your body into thinking you still have teeth and will preserve your jawbone.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Can Dentures be Attractive?

I’m losing my teeth and have to decide between dentures and implants. I don’t want to spend a fortune, which is what implants cost, but I also want an attractive smile. I only know a couple of people with dentures. With one of them, their face looks pinched as if the dentures are too small for them. Another, the teeth look obviously fake. If I end up getting dentures, can they be made to look attractive?

Bethany

Dear Bethany,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

Dentures can be made to look beautiful. Whether or not that happens depends on the skill of the dentist. Your friend who has fake looking dentures has a dentist who hasn’t invested in time in cosmetic training. The friend whose face looks pinched, it likely isn’t because their dentures are too small. Instead, they are likely facing what is known as facial collapse.

When your teeth are removed (or fall out), your body recognizes that. As a result, it wants to be as efficient as possible with the minerals in your jawbone. Without needing to support your teeth with them, it resorbs them to use elsewhere in your body. This has the unfortunate effect of slowly shrinking your jawbone. This is what has given your friend’s face that crushed look. Eventually, there isn’t enough jawbone left to even support your dentures.

This is something to consider before settling on getting dentures alone. The implant-supported dentures prevents this problem. Your dentist will place four to six dental implants in your jawbone. This enables your body to interpret this as you still having teeth. Because of that, it leaves your jawbone intact.

Getting Beautiful Dentures

Whether you get dentures or implant overdentures, you will want them to look beautiful. Finding an expert cosmetic dentist will do that. My recommendation is you look at the mynewsmile.com website. This website lists cosmetic dentists. A dentist can not just pay to be listed there, though. In order to be listed, they have to verify their post-doctoral training in cosmetics as well as show they have artistic skills by providing visual evidence of cases they’ve personally done.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Insurance Problems with Dental Implants

I need some help. I want to get dental implants, but can’t seem to get my medical insurance to cover it. Why wouldn’t they? It’s not like being unable to eat is good for my health? Will dental insurance cover them? If not, what do I do? I’ve heard dentures are bad for someone my age (I’m 52) but that may be all I can afford.

Grannie G.

Dear Grannie G.,

before and after side images of a woman suffering from facial collapse
Gentting dentures at the wrong age can lead to facial collapse

We sometimes forget that insurance companies are a business. As such, they want to make money. They’re not really there to think of the best option for the patient. Because dental insurance is available, medical insurance companies won’t cover anything which has to do with your teeth.

Dental insurance plans tend to cover the least expensive option available. For tooth replacement options, that would be dentures. So, you’re more likely to get most or full coverage of dentures, but only partial coverage of dental implants. That leaves you covering most of the bill.

Whoever advised you about the dangers of getting dentures at your age was correct. When your teeth are removed, your body begins resorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in an effort to be efficient with its resources. This has the unfortunate effect of shrinking your jawbone. Depending on how quickly the resorption takes place, in ten or so years you’ll no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures. This is known in dental circles as facial collapse.

I don’t want you to despair, though, there are ways to afford dental implants.

Affording Dental Implants

Staged Payments

The first thing you should know is payment for the dental implant procedure is usually done in two stages. First, is the surgical stage when the implants are placed. Then, after a period of time designed for both healing and osseointegration to take place.

Once that is done, the second payment is usually made when the implant crowns are designed. This allows you to break up the cost.

For some, even that is too much. Because of that many dentists will work through Care Credit, which allows you to take out a low-interest payment plan in order to get the treatment you need. If you qualify, this company allows you to choose how long you’ll take to repay it, thereby essentially choosing the cost of your payments.

Dental Implant Options

You don’t have to get a one-to-one tooth/implant replacement ratio. It is much more affordable to get implant overdentures which will use four to six implants per arch and then anchor your dentures to them.

If this is still too much money, snap-on dentures are a great option. It will allow you to use as few as two dental implants. It will anchor the denture in that spot and protect the bone where the implants are. This will get you started while allowing you to save up for more implants if you so desire.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.