Tag Archives: implant overdentures

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.

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.

Considerations Before Getting Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implant
Dental Implant Diagram

You’ve lost a few teeth and need to replace them. While all the buzz is about dental implants when it comes to tooth replacement options, there are some things to ask yourself before deciding. Here are some questions to consider:

Have All My Options Been Explained?

Yes, dental implants are a fantastic way to replace missing teeth, but it’s important you know your options so you can be sure you chose the correct option for you. For instance, if you’re only replacing one tooth, but one or more of the two adjacent teeth need crowns, then a dental bridge would make more sense. If you’re missing all your teeth, getting a dental implant on every tooth would cost up to $84,000. Getting implant overdentures addresses all the same needs with significant cost savings. Be sure to ask your dentist to explain all your options along with their pros and cons when you book your consultation.

Are You Committed to Proper Oral and Health Care?

If you’ve lost your teeth because you have gum disease, that will have to be addressed before getting dental implants. Gum disease will cause the implant to fall out just the way your teeth did. Once your gums are healthy, it’s fine to go ahead and get the implants. However, if you’re not willing to care for your teeth with regular brushing and flossing, along with visits to the dentist, you’ll end up right back where you are now. In that case, you’d be better off not investing in something you won’t care for. Removable partial dentures may be a better option for you.

If you’re a smoker, this is a larger contributor to both gum disease and dental implant failure. The reason behind that is smoking causes a reduction of blood flow in your gums. This slows healing time, which often leads to infections. You’ll want to consider quitting or at least severly cutting back if you’re serious about dental implants.

Think About Your Long-Term Goals

These are meant to be a permanent replacement. That’s great, but if you’ve been unhappy with a dingy smile, you’ll want to take care of that before getting your implants done. Get your teeth whitened. This way when your dentist creates your implant crowns, they can be made to match your beautiful new fresher, whiter color. It’s a great way to come away with not just a full set of chompers, but one you’re proud to share as well. Make sure you discuss with your dentist any long-term goals you have for your smile at your consultation. This way the two of you can work out a logical plan that will save you money in the end.

Make Sure You Book with an Experienced Implant Dentist

This is an advanced procedure which requires extensive post-doctoral training. Don’t hesitate to ask the dentist where they received their dental implant training as well as the number of cases they have performed, as well as their success rate. It should be around 98%.

While not everyone is a dental implant candidate. They are the closest option to having healthy natural teeth in your mouth.

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

My Husband’s Dentures Hurt

I don’t know what to do for my poor husband. He had to get dentures because he lost his teeth, but he absolutely cannot wear them. They hurt. The dentist keeps telling us he’ll adjust to them but he hasn’t. Now it’s getting impossible for him. Is there any way to help him?

Lena

Dear Lena,

Mature couple smiling
You can have a gorgeous smile that feels good no matter what your age!

It’s a shame your dentist hasn’t been more helpful to you. It doesn’t sound like he’s even tried to make any adjustments on your husband’s dentures. That’s the first thing I’d do. However, from what you’ve said, it sounds like you’ll need to see a different dentist to do it. One who is compassionate about his patients. Sometimes, all it takes is some small adjustments and all that pain goes away.

You should be aware, while many patients do fine with dentures. Others spend a lifetime hating them. I don’t know where your husband will fall in that spectrum. Do you know if your dentist told him about options before giving him dentures? Technically, he’s obligated to present all options, but I’m not feeling complete confidence in the thoroughness of your dentist at the moment.

A Helpful Option to Dentures

If adjustments don’t help him, you may have him look into switching to implant overdentures. These anchor his dentures to a series of dental implants, usually four or six. Aside from him never having to deal with the friction of dentures. They’re perfectly secure.

They have a more important function as well. With each passing year, your husband’s jawbone is shrinking. The reason for that is the loss of his teeth roots. When his extractions took place his body recognizes he no longer needs the bone support for his teeth, so it resorbs the minerals from the jawbone to use elsewhere in his body. This leads to a condition known as facial collapse. Eventually, he’ll have so little bone left he won’t have a way to keep his dentures in.

Having implants placed will help his body to understand that bone is still necessary. That will completely save him from losing his jaw bone and giving him a lifetime of healthy tooth replacements. They’ll look and function just like his natural teeth did when they were healthy.

There are other options as well. The key for you guys is finding a dentist which you believe in and can trust. Then ask him to give you all your options.

This blog is brought to you by Salem Cosmetic 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.

What Would Getting Dentures Entail?

I’m losing my teeth and making some decisions about what to do next. What would it entail to get dentures? Do they put you out and then take out all your teeth at once? Do you get the dentures right away?

Carla

Dear Carla,

Dentures

I’m sorry you’re facing this decision. I know how heartbreaking it can be. I’ll answer your question about dentures, but before you make a decision I want to be certain you know your options other than full dentures.

Options to Full Removable Dentures

Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implantIf you’re removing all your teeth, ideally you’d get dental implants. As you can see from the illustration at the left, it implants a prosthetic root into your jawbone. This is why dental implants are so useful. They’re much more stable than other options. You can eat and brush/floss as you normally would with your normal, healthy teeth.

However, their biggest benefit is the prevention of facial collapse. When your teeth are removed, your body immediately begins to reabsorb the minerals in your jawbone to distribute elsewhere throughout your body where they’re more needed. It’s efficient, but the result will be you won’t have enough jawbone left to retain a denture. Dental implants prevent that.

Implant Retained Dentures

dental implants anchoring denturesVery few people can afford to get an implant placed on every tooth. However, implant supported dentures are another option which is more do-able financially. With these, your dentist will place an implant in even distribution throughout your bite. When that’s completed, he can anchor your dentures to them. You get the benefit of preserving a good deal of bone along with having your dentures secure in your mouth.

Obviously, the more implants you can afford to place the better, but this can be done with as few as two implants, which are called snap-on dentures.

How Are Removable Dentures Placed?

First, the teeth are extracted. Some people prefer to have dental sedation for this part of the procedure. This way they can sleep through the procedure if they’d like. Others prefer just to use a local anesthetic. It’s completely up to the patient. Once that is completed, the next step depends on the type of dentures you decide on.

Immediate Dentures

These can be placed as soon as your teeth are removed. The benefit is you can walk out with a full set of “teeth”. They tend to end up being a bit more expensive because they require more follow-up visits and adjustments.

Conventional Dentures

These are placed about eight weeks after extraction. The benefit is they tend to fit better, requiring less adjustment. The obvious drawback is the wait to have a smile.

Discuss these options with your dentist. I’m sure the two of you can come up with what works best for your lifestyle and budget.

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