Tag Archives: dental implants

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.

Are There Soft Dentures?

I’m looking for something to help with my dentures. The way they are on the roof of my mouth hurts. Do they make a soft kind of denture?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

There are soft liners for dentures. This is what is typically called a soft denture. However, while they are a tad more comfortable, they have limitations. They’re both more expensive and do not last as long. They are also harder to keep clean.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a denture that is pliable, which it sounds like you’re asking for. This is because the denture needs a firm frame both to fit right and to help with chewing.

The Solution When Dentures aren’t for You.

I’m going to suggest you switch to implant supported dentures. These won’t require you to have a plate at all. Instead, the dentures are attached to the implants. It is much more secure than removable dentures. You’ll find it will also increase your quality of living, including your chewing capacity.

There’s an even more important benefit. When your teeth were removed, your body began to resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere. It does this because it strives to be efficient and recognizes you no longer have any teeth roots there. The big problem with that is as your minerals leave, your jawbone shrinks. This is known as facial collapse. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone left to even support your dentures.

Having dental implants there, signals to your brain that there are still roots there. leaving your jawbone intact.

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

Are Dentures as Attractive as Dental Implants?

I’m 39 years old and need to get dentures. My dentist really wants me to get dental implants because they are better, but dentures are much more affordable. Can dentures be made as attractive as dental implants or do I have to get implants for a pretty smile?

misty

Dear Misty,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

It is a shame you are having to lose your teeth at such as young age. Have you had a second opinion to see how many of your teeth can be saved?

While dentures can be made as beautiful and natural looking as dental implants, it is not their appearance which makes dental implants the better option. In fact, at your age, it is even more important. Let me explain.

Dental Implants Prevent Facial Collapse

When your teeth are removed, your body recognizes this. Without having teeth roots in your jawbone it feels the minerals there are of better use elsewhere. Trying to be efficient, it resorbs those minerals to use elsewhere. While useful to the parts getting the minerals, it has the unfortunate effect of shrinking your jawbone. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone left to even keep your dentures in. This is known as facial collapse.

With dental implants, a prosthetic root is surgically placed into your jawbone. This signals to your body that the bone is still necessary and preserves its structure.

If You Can’t Afford Dental Implants

When talking about a full set of dentures it is too expensive to do a one-to-one ratio of teeth to implants. Because of that, most patients will get implant overdentures. This uses between four and six implants and then fixes your dentures to them. This simultaneously protects your jawbone while saving you some money.

For some patients, even this is out of reach. In that case, my suggestion is to get snap-on dentures. This can use as few as two dental implants. It will keep the dentures from falling out and preserve at least some of your bone.

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

What If Dentures are my Only Option?

I’m in a pickle. I’ve had four pregnancies in six years which kept me vomiting every day, multiple times a day. Then, when I was done with that, I was diagnosed with cancer. My teeth are an absolute wreck as a result. Many of them are literally crumbling. I think the only thing I can afford is dentures. I’m about to completely lose it. I keep hearing dentists say dentures are the worst thing I can do but I’m not sure I have a choice. I’ve no money left and am still paying off tens of thousands of dollars for my treatments.

Emily

Dear Emily,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

You have been through a lot and I don’t want you to beat yourself up. Sometimes, our health (even the health of our teeth) are beyond our control. In your case, I’m going to make a couple of suggestions to see if we can help you get the health you need for your jaw as well as a beautiful smile.

You mentioned dentists have warned you against dentures. The reason for that is the danger of facial collapse. Your jawbone slowly shrinks. Eventually, there is not enough money to even keep your dentures in place. The upper dentures are held in by suction, so those are a bit safer. The bottom ones just sit on the ridge of your jawbone.

If at all possible, I am going to suggest you get snap-on dentures on your bottom arch. This can place as few as two dental implants into your jawbone and keep your dentures from falling out. Plus, it will preserve the bone where ever you have an implant. From there, you can save up for other implants as you are able.

Getting Beautiful Dentures

Regardless of the type of your tooth replacement option, you want to make certain, the dentist who prepares them will create a beautiful smile for you. This is one of the few upsides for your particular situation. After years of damage to your teeth, you can now have the smile of your dreams.

Not all cosmetic dentists are equal in skill. It’s not a recognized specialty by the American Dental Association, so it is up to the dentist how much time and training he or she invests in learning how to make beautiful smile makeovers. There are two sources where you can find dentists capable of giving you a gorgeous smile.

The first is the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry website. They have a link where you can find a cosmetic dentist. When you list your area, make sure you check that you’re looking for an accredited dentist. These are the ones with expertise and artistry. The second source is mynewsmile.com. They also have a “Find a Cosmetic Dentist” link. Not all of them are accredited. However, each one of them has been screened for their technical and artistic skill.

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

snap on dentures: a middle ground

I have been struggling with my dentures. Really struggling. I talked to my dentist about it and he suggested dental implants, but the price was way over anything I can afford. I don’t really want to continue with the dentures, but I just don’t like how they move around. I do use adhesive. It helps some. Not a lot. Unfortunately, it also feels kind of gross. Is this just something I’ll have to adjust to or is there another treatment option I’m overlooking?

Diana

Dear Diana,

Salem Snap on Denture
Snap-on Dentures

I hate to hear that patients are left grappling for answers when their dentists should be giving them all their options. And, you do have some options here.

While some people adjust to dentures, others never do. You didn’t mention how long you’ve had your dentures. If they’re fairly new, they shouldn’t be sliding. Your dentist needs to adjust them. Free of charge.

However, if you’ve had them for several years, you could be at the early stages of facial collapse. The longer you wear dentures, the more your jawbone shrinks. Eventually, you won’t have enough jawbone left to even keep dentures in.

This is why your dentist mentioned dental implants. The implants provide prosthetic tooth roots which your body interprets as you still needing your jawbone, leaving it intact.

Alternatives to 1 to 1 Dental Implants

I don’t know if the price quoted to you for dental implants was a single implant for every missing tooth or for implant overdentures. However, implant overdentures are significantly more affordable.

This uses four to six dental implants on each arch and anchors your dentures to them. They are completely secure and will also prevent facial collapse.

In some cases, even implant overdentures are still out of reach. That’s okay. Everyone has a different budget to work with and dentists should never pressure patients to extend themselves beyond their means.

In those cases, we often recommend snap-on dentures. They are a good starting place. There is a picture of them at the top of this post. It uses just two dental implants. While there is some movement, they will not fall out. The snaps keep them in place.

This also allows you to save up to get more implants at a later date if that is what you desire. It will also protect against bone loss, but just in the areas there are implants.

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

dentures won’t stay in

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?

Miranda

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

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.

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

Dentist Holding Teeth Hostage

I’m in a pickle. I’m losing my teeth. I know it’s my fault, but that doesn’t actually change my predicament. I need to replace them and asked for dentures because of cost. My dentist said he only placed dental implants and won’t give me dentures because of my age. I feel like my teeth are being held hostage by my dentist. Please tell me I’ll have alternatives.

Clarke R.

Dear Clarke,

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

While every dentist has the right to their practices treatment philosophy, I think this is unfair. Not everyone can afford the ideal. Instead, give patients their options. Tell them the pros and cons of their decision. Then, let them decide.

I will say one thing to your dentist’s credit, if you’re middle-aged or younger, he’s trying to save you from a devastating fate later. Once your teeth are removed, you body will begin reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. It does this because there are no longer any teeth roots and it perceives that as you not needing as much jawbone anymore.

The problem with this is your jaw begins to shrink. Your dentures just rest on the ridge of your jawbone, so after ten years or so there is no longer enough jawbone left to keep your dentures in. This is known as facial collapse and can derail your health. Without an ability to retain your dentures, you’ll be on a liquid diet.

Options to Complete Removable Dentures

Ideally, you’d get what’s known as implant overdentures. This allows you to anchor your dentures with about 4-6 dental implants per arch. There are quite a few benefits to this. No matter how well-fitted your dentures are, you lose about
50% of your chewing capacity. Having securely anchored dentures, gives you a normal chewing capacity again.

In addition to that, you no longer have to worry about them slipping or sliding. However, the biggest benefit is the prevention of the facial collapse I mentioned above. The implants serve as prosthetic tooth roots. This signals to your body that those minerals are still necessary.

However, I do realize not everyone can afford this option. In that case, my suggestion would be to get snap-on dentures. This allows you to get as few as two implants, which is much more affordable. It will keep your dentures from falling out and will preserve the bone near those two implants. As you can afford it, it will be incredibly beneficial for you to add implants.

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