I ended up having dentures at a very young age. I’m 60 now and have had them for over 30 years. Lately, even with adhesive, it’s becoming impossible to keep them in. Can a dentist fix this?
This is tough. When your teeth were removed, your body began a resorption process of using the minerals normally needed by your jawbone elsewhere.
It does this because it interprets your missing teeth as you no longer needing these. This process is known in dental circles as facial collapse.
As this happens, your dentures begin to slip. Then, they get to where they start falling out. Eventually, you won’t be able to keep them in at all.
Two Solutions When Dentures Fail
The first thing you’ll need to do is get bone grafting done. This is an outpatient procedure that builds up bone in your jawbone again. Once that is done, you have two main routes to choose from.
Have new dentures made. You have a ridge again and will be able to retain dentures again if that is what you like. One thing to consider is you would be facing the same issue again as the cycle of facial collapse starts all over.
Get dental implants. This is actually the ideal solution. You can place four to six dental implants into your new jawbone. This signals to your brain you need those minerals and the bone remains intact preventing facial collapse. Then, when the implants are fully integrated, a denture is secured to the implants. This is known as implant overdentures. You’ll never have to worry about them slipping again.
I’ve had dentures for years. They have always looked fake but I knew they would be because they were dentures. Last week a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a few years came to town and we had lunch together. Her smile was gorgeous. I couldn’t believe it. She said she got dental implants. I didn’t even know those existed. Is it too late for me to get them?
It’s never too late for a pretty smile. You should know that, with a great cosmetic dentist, you could have had a beautiful smile with dentures as well. It’s not the procedure in this case. It’s the dentist. However, you can’t change the past.
Dentures or Dental Implants
Truthfully, dental implants are by far the best choice when it comes to replacing their teeth. First, they’re permanently implanted so they’re completely secure. It’s like having healthy, natural teeth back in your mouth. You can eat whatever you want and brush and floss like you do with natural teeth.
They have a more important function, though. You’ve probably noticed your dentures don’t fit the same way they used to when you first received them. That’s because your jaw is shrinking. When your teeth were removed, your body recognized that and started resorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere.
It won’t be long before you won’t be able to keep your dentures in place. This is known as facial collapse. Dental implants prevent that. The prosthetic roots placed into your jawbone tricks your body into thinking your natural teeth are still there and, as a result, leaves your jawbone intact.
If you decide to get dental implants, you’ll likely find you no longer have enough jawbone left to support them. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get them. It means you’ll have to have an additional procedure first, called bone grafting.
Bone grafting is a simple, outpatient procedure. This will build up the bone structure so that your jawbone will be able to retain the implants.
Getting Beautiful Results No Matter What Procedure You Choose
As I mentioned above, the most important decision is to find a highly skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist. They can create something stunning that you’ll be proud to share with the world. You’ll never feel like you have an ugly smile again.
The easiest way to find one of those is to go to the website of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.com). They have a “find a cosmetic dentist” link. However, to get one with the expertise you need, you need to check that you want an accredited dentist, not just a member.
After you find a great cosmetic dentist, see which of them have experience with dental implants. You’ll want one with post-doctoral training in restorative dentistry.
Best of luck to you. This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.
I don’t know what’s going on. I had a blade implant placed over 12 months ago and it still isn’t healed. Is something wrong or is this normal? Do I just wait it out?
I’m curious as to why your dentist decided on a blade implant. While they have been in use for many years, there are better options in current practice. It’s generally used for people who don’t have a thick enough jawbone to retain a traditional screw implant but don’t want to do bone grafting.
Unfortunately, while traditional dental implants (pictured above) have a 98% success rate, blade implants only have around a 50% success rate. This should have healed within twelve months. At this point, something is wrong. You need to return to your implant surgeon and have them look and advice you.
Dental Implant Options
Bone loss in your jaw is usually the result of having missing teeth with no replaced root. For instance, if you removed your teeth but didn’t replace them or replaced them with removable dentures, the minerals in your bone start to resorb into your body. The result not only ages your appearance years, but it will also make you a denture cripple, forced onto a liquid diet the remainder of your days. This is known as facial collapse.
If you want to replace those teeth with an option which provides a prosthetic root, thereby preventing facial collapse, you need to have enough jaw bone. If you don’t, you have two great alternatives to blade implants.
This is a simple outpatient procedure which adds bone structure back into your jaw. The biggest benefit to this is it allows you to get screw implants which have a significantly higher success rate to the blade option.
While it is wonderful to have a full mouth of teeth. If they’re not attractive teeth, you might not smile nearly as much as you would if you were provided with a stunning smile. Whether you are getting all new “teeth” or just a couple of implants, you’ll want a dentist who can make them match your teeth. You don’t want natural teeth next to obviously fake teeth.
One or Two Implants
I recommend before your implant crowns are made, you whiten the rest of your teeth. It’s an inexpensive way to drastically improve the aesthetics of your smile. But, the real reason for doing it before getting your crowns is the permanence of your crown color. Even professional teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure. That means if you get the crowns first and then decide to whiten your teeth, your natural teeth will whiten. Your tooth replacements will not. Doing the whitening first means your implant crowns can be made to match the beautiful new color of your teeth.
A New Smile with Implant Overdentures
If you are getting a new smile with your implants, you want an expert cosmetic dentist to do the work. You are talking about a complete smile makeover made from dental crowns. Finding an expert cosmetic dentist is a lot easier than it used to be. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has an accreditation program which helps patients to know who can give them a stunning smile.
Just go to aacd.com and click on find a dentist. Just make sure you put a check by “accredited dentist”. This way you get a list of those who are experts in their field.
I’ve had my dentures for a long time. Don’t ask my age. It’s rude. However, I do need advice. Regardless of how old I am, I don’t enjoy being humiliated by having my dentures fall out when I’m in public. So, be a nice young man and tell me how to fix this disaster. I’m almost scared to open my mouth. If you knew how much I loved talking you’d feel very sorry for me right now.
What’s happening to you is a result of how long you’ve had your dentures. I certainly hope your dentist warned you about the problems with long-term dentures, but based on your question I don’t think he did.
When your teeth were removed, your body began reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere. After 10-20 years, there’s not enough jawbone to keep your dentures secure. This is known as facial collapse and the reason yours keep falling out.
Snap-On Dentures Could Be Your Solution
To solve this will take a couple of steps. The first thing you need is to build back up that lost jawbone. A simple outpatient bone grafting procedure can do that for you. Once you’re healed from that you have a few choices. I would never dare ask your age, but it will have an effect on which you choose.
The cheapest solution is to have new dentures made, but remember in a period of time, you’ll face the same issue of a shrunken jaw.
If you want the top-of-the-line tooth replacement option, then I’d get implant supported dentures. These attach your newly made dentures to dental implants. They will last a lifetime and prevent you from any further bone loss. The only drawback is the expense. They come with a hefty price tag.
In between those two treatments, is something called snap-on dentures. I’ve posted a picture of them right after your question. These use just two implants that will snap on to your dentures. They’re not as secure as a full set of implants would be, but they will keep your dentures in.
If you want to, you can add more implants as you’re able.
After my husband died I really struggled. I stopped taking care of myself. I gained 100 pounds, developed diabetes, and even developed gum disease which led to losing several teeth. I didn’t care. Then, one day I was at a park and smiled at a little girl and she asked if I was homeless. I realized then, things had to change. I have a full life ahead of me. I started eating right. I joined a gym. I’ve almost completely lost all the weight I gained and I no longer have gum disease. I asked my dentist about what he recommended for my missing teeth and he suggested all-on-4 dental implants. I was super thrilled about the idea of having a full mouth of teeth again. But, I went home to do some research and learned that diabetics shouldn’t get them. I don’t want to pay all that money if it’s not going to work. What should I do? I really want teeth again.
First, let me add my condolences. Don’t be too hard on yourself regarding how you dealt with your grief in the beginning. It’s almost suffocating to lose a loved one and we all seem to lose ourselves at first too. You should be really thrilled with the incredible progress you’ve made since then. I think the healthy changes you’ve made are remarkable.
For the most part, dental implants have a 98% success rate when done by an experienced implant dentist. There are some factors which make patients more at risk for implant failure. The biggest of these are:
You’ve already taken care of your gum disease, which is huge. A responsible dentist will NEVER give a patient who has gum disease dental implants. There’s no way for your body to retain them well, just like when you suffered from gum disease, they couldn’t retain your natural teeth. They will fail. Because you’ve already turned that around it’s not a worry for you.
You didn’t mention anything about smoking, which I hope means you’re not a smoker. Smoking lowers your blood flow in your gums which increases your risk of infection, a leading cause of dental implant failure. You also increase your risk of redeveloping gum disease.
Your diabetes is under control, so again, Yay! not a problem for you. I think you’re likely a good candidate for dental implants.
Are All-on-4 Dental Implants the Right Choice for You?
The only real reason to do the All-on-4 procedure rather than traditional implants is bone loss. Sometimes, with gum disease and tooth loss, you lose so much jawbone structure you don’t have enough to retain dental implants. All-on-4 is one way to get around that. However, there is a better, more reliable option.
If you don’t have enough bone to support traditional dental implants, I’d consider getting bone grafting done. It will build back up your bone structure. Then you’re free to get whatever procedure you want. I hope this helps you make your decision.
Best of luck and congratulations on all your hard work!
This blog is brought to you by AACD Accredited dentist Dr. Randall Burba.
I’ve had dentures for a long time. They’ve gotten to the point where they won’t stay in. It’s like my jaw has changed. Is there anything I can do?
Jeannette N. – Brooklyn
I know exactly what was going on. When your teeth are removed, your body begins to reabsorb the minerals from the roots of your teeth to use elsewhere in your body. It’s a very efficient system…unless you happen to wear dentures. Eventually so much of your jawbone is gone that you can’t wear your dentures anymore.
There is a way to repair this. You’ll need to have some bone grafting done. This will restore bone structure to your jawbone. Then you can have your treatment restored. Ideally, you’d want to get dental implants to replace your teeth. This prevents your body from reabsorbing the minerals and protects your jaw.
If you can’t afford dental implants, you could get snap-on dentures. This will affix your dentures to your jaw using as few as two implants, which saves you a lot of money. Then, as you’re able to, you can add implants.
I’ve been told I have low sinuses. Am I able to get dental implants?
Mark S. – Utah
If you’re othewise a decent candidate for dental implants, then I’ll say, yes, you can get dental implants with low sinuses–with a couple of qualifiers.
Depending on how low they are, you may have to get a sinus lift and some bone grafting done. I would really get this looked at. It’s not a step you’ll want to skip if it’s necessary.
You’ll want to get a dentist with advanced dental implant training. Any dentist can place these. But, any dentist can perforate your sinuses too. There are plenty of dental implant horror stories out there. That will mean a trashed procedure and lots of pain, along with a likely infection for you. Some training institutes you can look for are: LVI (The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies), The Kois Center, The Dawson Center. There are others as well, just make sure they have the training necessary to do this properly.
My dentist said I needed to get dentures, because I don ‘t have enough jawbone for dental implants. I was really disappointed to hear that. I have heard that there are snap on dentures that use a mini type of implant. Am I able to get those with a little jawbone?
Brendon L. – Tennessee
Unfortunately, without enough jawbone, the mini implants won’t have enough support for your snap on dentures. Snap on dentures are usually used when people are good candidates for dental implants, but don’t have the money for the big daddies.
Did your dentist not mention bone grafting? If you really wanted dental implants, you can have bone grafted to your jawbone to build up the structure.
If you’ve lost that much bone already, then eventually your dentures won’t even stay in place. Your bottom dentures rest on your lower jaw and that is the only thing keeping them in.