About 30 years ago, I received full dentures. They have always looked fake. Now, as I’m aging, I’m having a hard time keeping them in. Is it too late for me to have a pretty smile? Are there other options for me instead of dentures?
It makes me incredibly sad that you’ve gone this many years embarrassed by your smile, through no fault of your own. Patients don’t always know the options available to them. There are many dentists, Dr. Cha included, who are trying to change that. First, I want to address why you are having trouble keeping your dentures in at the moment.
When your teeth were removed, your body began resorbing the minerals in your jawbone. Within the first three years, you lose up to 60% of your jawbone. After those initial years, the rate of resorption slows down significantly. However, you’ve been missing teeth for 30 years. That is more than long enough to have facial collapse set in. This means you’ve lost so much jawbone, there isn’t enough left to retain your dentures properly.
When this happens, you have to build back up the bone in order to have properly functioning teeth again. This can be done with bone grafting.
Dentures or Dental Implants
After you have built the bone back up, you have a couple of choices. The first is to get dentures again. The biggest downside to that is you will again begin the bone resorption. This leads me to your second option. You can get implant overdentures. These use four to six dental implants to secure your dentures to your jaw.
Having those implants have quite a few advantages:
- It prevents bone loss.
- It keeps your dentures completely secure.
- It greatly improves your quality of life, including your chewing capacity.
Getting a Beautiful Smile
The key to getting a gorgeous smile is the dentist who creates your dentures. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t really taught in dental schools. Because of that, you need to find a dentist who is not only skilled with dental implants (if you decide to go that route), but invested significant time in cosmetic training. The top of the line cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited. That’s different from just membership. Accredited dentists have passed stringent exams on their technical knowledge and presented a large number of specific cases, they’ve personally done, to prove their artistry.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.