Tag Archives: implant overdentures

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.

Dental Implants are Falling Out

I had dentures for a while and just really hated them. After doing some research, I decided to get implant overdentures, with eight implants total. This has cost me about $12,000. Yet, in less than a week three of them have fallen out and today a fourth one came out. Should I get a refund for those? Is there a way to get them back in? I really hated the removable dentures.

Penny

Dear Penny,

Implant overdentures

You should absolutely get your money back on those failed implants. To be honest, I wouldn’t have too much confidence in the ones that are left either. The current estimated failure rate for dental implants is 5%. Your dentist’s failure rate is 10 times that in just a week.

Most dental implant failures come from poor surgical placement. However, you mentioned you have been in dentures for a bit. You didn’t mention how long. When your teeth are removed, your body begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone. It is possible, depending on how long you were in dentures that you did not have enough bone to retain the dental implants. That is something your dentist should have caught with his diagnostics.

My first recommendation to you is to see a dentist with real dental implant training, such as with Dawson Academy or the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies. Have them look at your implants and see if they can tell you what went wrong. If you had adequate bone support and it was a problem with the dentist’s surgical placement, then don’t just ask for a refund. Instead, ask for him to pay to have the new implants replaced by a dentist of your choosing.

This is because it will cost more to repair this than it did originally. Losing or removing dental implants takes bone with it. The missing bone structure will have to be replaced in order to have a succesful outcome the second time around. That can be done with bone grafting, but your dentist should cover that if you had enough bone to begin with.

If you didn’t have enough bone to begin with, then you would only need a refund. You would have needed bone grafting to begin with in that case.

You should not have any trouble getting a refund on this, especially if you have a second dentist advocating for you.

Best of luck. You can still get the implant overdentures you want!

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

cLEAR cHOICE OR cOSTA rICA FOR dENTAL iMPLANTS?

I am trying to choose between Clear Choice Dental Implant Centers for all-on-4 dental implants or going to Costa Rica for traditional implants. A dentist here said I am not a candidate for the traditional implants because of my bone structure. Clear Choice said they can work around that, but I’ve heard Costa Rica will place implants when dentists here won’t. Do you have any experience with these scenarios?

Ben

Dear Ben,

Implant Overdentures

You are asking me to choose between the lesser of two evils. Here are my problems with both of those options. Let’s start with Clear Choice. They pretty much do the all-on-4 dental implant procedure for most patients. However, while the procedure can be useful in certain situations, it is also risky. If one part of it fails, the whole thing has to be completely re-done. A second issue with Clear Choice is there is no significant follow-up care. This puts you at risk of post-procedural complications.

One of the problems with the dental implant procedure is it isn’t adequately taught in dental school. Dentists have to take post-doctoral training in order to develop the skills necessary. Too many dentists are delving into this for the income stream, but without adequate training. It is one of the leading causes of malpractice cases at the time I write this post.

Now, take the worst dentist in the United States and you will still be better off than if you went to Costa Rica for this procedure. You say they are willing to do cases that dentists here will not. Of course they are! They don’t have to worry about your dental implant failure. You will be back in the States with zero recourse, and they will be raking in their profits. It is a no-lose proposition for them and a total gamble for you.

And what will you be gambling? Here are just some of the complications you could deal with.

  • You could lose a large portion of your jawbone, leaving you a dental cripple.
  • They could place the implant on a nerve, leaving you either in constant pain, no feeling at all, or even paralysis in the area.
  • They could perforate your sinus cavity.
  • Infection could set in.
  • The implants could be too short or too thin to retain properly.
  • They could be loaded prematurely leading to dental implant failure.
  • They could come loose.
  • You could end up with peri-implantitis.

Your safest option is to go to a solo practice here in the United States where there are standards of care and patient recourse if something were to go wrong. Look for a dentist with post-doctoral training.

I know your dentist said your bone structure would preclude you from receiving the implant procedure you want. However, with a bone grafting procedure, you will build back up the lost bone structure and can get the best replacement possible. Instead of an all-on-4, I would look at getting implant overdentures.

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 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.

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.

Getting Dental Implants after Years with Dentures

I’ve had dentures for close to 30 years. I now can’t even keep them in. Is there any hope I can get dental implants at this point?

Cassidy

Dear Cassidy,

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

What you’re dealing with is facial collapse. When your teeth were first removed, your body recognized that. As an effort to be efficient with its resources, it begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone that were previously used to support the roots of your teeth. This slowly begins to shrink your jawbone and is the reason you are no longer able to return your dentures.

As to whether you can get dental implants at this stage, the answer is yes…but. In order to have implants which will stay secure in your jaw, that missing bone structure will have to be rebuilt. There is an outpatient procedure, called bone grafting, which can build back up your missing bone structure. Then, after a period of healing, you can begin the dental implant process.

Dental Implant Overdentures

You won’t get a one to one ratio of dental implants to teeth (or in your case dental crowns). It would be prohibitively expensive to do it that way. Instead, I suggest you do implant overdentures.

dentures about to be secured to six dental implants
Implant Overdentures

This utilizes between four and six dental implants and then, when osseointegration has taken place, your dentist will anchor a new set of dentures for you to them. These will be much more secure and comfortable than the dentures you had previously. Because they’re anchored, there is no slipping or falling out. You’ll also find your chewing capacity significantly increases, improving your quality of life.

Your Chance for a Dazzling Smile

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to get the smile of your dreams. If you go to an expert cosmetic dentist, they can not only fashion your dentures, but they can do it in a way that makes you look years younger and thrilled to share your new smile.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic 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.