Tag Archives: dentures

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.

Is There a Dentures Support Group?

Please help me. I feel so foolish. It’s bad enough losing your teeth. But, being poor and losing your teeth is the absolute worst. I couldn’t afford to get dental implants, and yes, I know they’re better. I’m just stuck with dentures. I absolutely hate them. I don’t know if there’s a group or something which talks about how they deal with dentures, but I really need one.

Carolyn

Dear Carolyn,

An image of a snap-on denture
Snap-on Dentures will keep them secure

I’m not aware of a denture support group, but it sounds like a good idea. You might even be able to start one at your local dentist’s practice. I say that with confidence because you’re not alone in your feelings. Many people struggle with dentures.

Common Struggles with Dentures

One of the biggest complaints is it’s much more difficult to eat food. Many times that can be improved with a better fit of your dentures. However, there are limitations. Even the best fitting dentures still reduce your chewing capacity by 50%. Cutting your chewing capacity in half is a huge drop in quality of life.

Another problem is they slip and slide. Removable dentures are, by their very title, removable. Because there’s nothing anchoring them there, they will move. This will happen more and more as your jawbone shrinks, which is a devastating side effect of dentures known as facial collapse. Eventually, you won’t be able to keep them in at all.

I realize I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know and you want solutions, so let’s move on.

A Snap-on Dentures Solution

Without having the money for dental implants, most patients feel hopeless, like they’re trapped. However, there is a sort of “part way” procedure that will help a little.

Generally, when you’re talking about implant supported dentures, you’ll need about six for each arch. However, with snap-on dentures, you can get as few as two. This can make a world of difference.

Benefits of Snap-on Dentures

The most obvious benefit is they cannot fall out. The implants anchor the dentures to your mouth securing them so you’ll never have to worry about embarrassing public slips.

They’ll help you retain your jawbone where the implants were placed.

They give you a stop gap while you work toward more implants. Obviously, the more implants you have the better, but starting with two gives you hope, a bit of relief, and a place to start.

Our life circumstances change all the time, and there may come a time you can afford to get more implants. This also allows you to save up a bit at a time and you can add two implants in stages as you’re able, until you have the security and chewing capacity you want.

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

What Can Keep My Dentures In?

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.

Eleanor

Dear Eleanor,

An image of a snap-on denture
Snap-on Dentures will keep them secure

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.

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

Dentist Said I’m Too Old for Dental Implants?

I’m a little distressed and hoping my dentist is mistaken. He’s been my dentist for years, but sometimes I get the impression he doesn’t exactly “keep up” with the developments in his field. I’ve had dentures for 25 years. Back then I’d never even heard about dental implants. My dentures never really looked natural, but it’s getting impossible to keep them in even though I completely replaced them a few years ago. To top it off, now my face is smushing around them. I asked my dentist about dental implants and all he said was, “Not at your age.” I’m sick of dentures. Is there any way for a mature woman to get implants?

Sarah L.

Dear Sarah,

dental implants anchoring dentures

I’m sorry your dentist gave you the impression that your age would preclude you from getting dental implants. If you’re in good health otherwise, there isn’t really a reason why you can’t have them. Though, the length of time you’ve had dentures will require you to have another procedure done ahead of time in order to make them viable.

When your teeth were removed, your body started reabsorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body. While great for other aspects of your body, it’s a horror for your jawbone. This is why your dentures no longer fit and why your face has scrunched up around them. This is known as facial collapse.

Dental Implants are a Great Solution

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to that bone loss. Bone grafting can now be done as a one-day procedure. Once you have enough jawbone again, you’ll be good to go to get dental implants. The best part is, with implants in your jaw, you won’t have to worry about losing any more jawbone.

Now, I want you to know your dentures could have been made to look beautiful and natural, though you’d still have the same problem with the bone loss. What the dentures look like is really down to the cosmetic abilities of the dentist. It sounds like your dentist isn’t very artistic.

Unfortunately, you won’t get any better results from him next time, unless he’s done extensive training since then. If you want a beautiful smile, you need to find a different dentist to do these implants.

Who Should Do Your Dental Implants?

There are two things which need to factor into who you go to for this procedure.

1. Technical skill. They’ll need extensive training in the implant procedure. You want to make sure they’ve done post-graduate training.

2. Cosmetic Ability. If they get the implants right, that’s great, but you won’t like your smile much if he doesn’t make the implant crowns beautiful. The most artistic dentists are AACD accredited. In fact, many of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.

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

Is There a Treatment Between Dentures and Dental Implants?

I’m losing my teeth. I was hoping to get dental implants, but after looking into it with more detail, there’s absolutely no way I can afford it. At the same time, I don’t want dentures. I spent too many years watching my grandmother’s dentures slipping out constantly. It totally grossed me out as a child. I don’t want to be that grandma. Is there any chance there’s a treatment that meets in the middle?

Lisa (too young to be gross).

Dear Lisa,

It’s amazing how many times when we’re little we think, “That will never be me!” Then the years pass and we’re shocked to find ourselves squinting and pushing our eye-glasses down to the ends of our noses because someone shrunk all the print in books.

When you have to replace all your teeth it can be distressing. Yes, dental implants are the ideal treatment and I can see why you wanted them. But, their cost sometimes puts it out of reach. You’re also right that dentures have lots of problems. Slipping and sliding is a big one.

Fortunately, there is a middle ground. Snap-on dentures address some of the problems that come with dentures. Obviously, they’re still not as stable as dental implants, but they’re not going to fall out of your mouth without some serious force.

They’re also useful in that they’ll allow you to work your way up to more implants. You can start with as few as two, which is much more affordable and give you time to save up for further implants as you’re able.

Talk to your dentist and I’m sure the two of you can work out a plan to get you stable replacements for your teeth that repair your smile without destroying your bank account.

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

I have been trying to pick the best implant dentist in my area, but I’m not sure how to choose between them. I am missing several teeth and have been given a few different options. One doctor told me to fill all the spaces with dental implants, while another suggested an implant-supported bridge, and the third one told me to get as many as I could afford, and to do a traditional partial denture for the rest. Personally, I  liked the last option the most, but I think the second one was the best implant dentist. Should I go to him and see if he’ll do the other procedure?

Jonathan- Ft. Smith, AR

Dear Jonathan,

It’s good that you’re looking into all your options before embarking on an extensive treatment plan, and you’ll definitely want to get the best implant dentist, as that can make a world of difference in the final result.

The problem is, dentists often recommend things based on what they believe your results will be, and some of that comes down to skill. So, you may find one that doesn’t have a high success rate with bridges, and he’ll recommend a denture instead. For this reason, it’s a good idea to go with what the dentist recommends, because you’ll know he’s doing something he’s comfortable with and is skilled at.

With that said, the second one may have made his recommendation based on cost or something you said during the consultation. He may be perfectly content performing the procedure that the third one recommended. Go ahead and call the office and ask about the alternate procedure.

If the dentist prefers not to do that procedure, don’t push the issue. You may wind up pushing him to try to appease you, and that just means he won’t be doing a procedure he feels good about. Select based on skill, and go with the recommended procedure, or choose another highly-skilled dentist who performs the procedure you want.

Dental implants are an advanced procedure, which can have serious complications if not done well.  Make sure your dentist has post-graduate dental implant procedures. You also want to ask about his succesful dental implant experience.

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

Don’t want the problems of dentures

I am losing my teeth. I don’t want the problems of dentures, but I can’t afford dental implants. What do you suggest? Am I just stuck?

Delores D. – Milwaukee

Delores,

You’re in a tough spot, but there is a decent solution.  You could get snap on dentures.  When you’re losing your teeth, you’ll want a full set of implants, but if you can’t do that you can get as few as two implants placed onto the snap on dentures. It will keep them in place and solve many of the problems that come wtih dentures.

Dental implants are still the best option. If you decide you’ll still want implants, they’ll be possible in the future.  This will give you some of the time you need to save up for them.  Or, you may decide the snap on dentures are perfectly satisfactory and stick with them.

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

My teeth are nubs

I have severe bruxism and maloclussion. As a result my teeth have been ground practically down to nubs, though otherwise healthy. My dentist hasn’t done much to help me with this, except give me a mouthguard. However, the condition of my mouth really bothers me. Is it best for me just to pull them all and get dentures? I want a normal looking smile, where it is easy for me to eat. It’s a shame I’m dealing with this at 40 years old.

Steve G. from Minnesotta

Steve,

Bear in mind everything I am saying is without having examined you myself.

This would have been easier to treat in the beginning. If you’ve known about the TMJ issues, have you been to a TMJ dentist? I’d be  hardpressed to call them a competent one if all they did was give you a mouthguard.

I don’t think dentures at 40 is a good idea. In 10 to 20 years you’ll be dealing with facial collapse and won’t even be able to wear your dentures anymore. Even without that serious issue, rarely do denture patients feel like they have an “easy” way to eat.

It is always ideal to save your own teeth when possible. As you’ve said yours are otherwise healthy, though worn down, you might consider getting a full set of porcelain crowns. However, you must go to an experienced, well trained TMJ dentist. There are so many factors to consider when doing a case of your magnitude.

If you ever do get to the point when you do have to remove your teeth, than I recommend you get dental implants instead of dentures. That will protect your from getting facial collapse, and you’ll be able to eat normally.

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