I have had dentures for 13 years. I have always hated them, but when I received them, no one told me about the options for dental implants. I approached my dentist about it hoping I could switch, but he said I have been in the dentures too long to get the implants. However, he is the one who didn’t tell me about the implants to begin with and I’ve learned they were around then. Can I trust this dentist? Is it possible I can still get the implants?
I am glad you wrote. First, a word about your dentist. He was under an ethical obligation to give you all your options when he placed you in dentures. The fact that he did not either means he is unethical or he doesn’t know his field well enough to know all his options. Neither one of those is a great option for a dental practitioner. I think it is time to find a new dentist.
As to your ability to get dental implants now, as long as you are in good general health, it is probably possible, but you may need one additional procedure first. When your teeth were removed, your body began to resorb the minerals in your jaw that made up your jawbone. It does this because it recognizes you no longer have teeth there so you don’t need those minerals to keep anything in place. Instead, it transfers those minerals to a different location in your body where it feels those minerals will be of more use. It is a remarkably efficient way to use our body’s resources.
Unfortunately, after somewhere between ten and twenty years, you will no longer have enough jawbone to retain your dentures. This is known as facial collapse. I’m guessing thirteen years into this journey, you have begun to notice your dentures move around more than they have in the past. The solution to this is to have a procedure known as bone grafting done. This will rebuild the missing bone structure.
Once that is done and healed, you will be able to move forward with your dental implants. When you are talking about all of your teeth, it is much more affordable for you to get implant-supported dentures. With this procedure, you will have between four to six dental implants placed and then your dentist will anchor your new dentures to them. It is all the security of dental implants without having to place an implant for each tooth.
I mentioned earlier that you need a new dentist. However, that will be even more important if you decide to go forward with the dental implants. This is an advanced procedure that is not taught in dental school. Instead, your dentist has to take extensive post-doctoral training. Your dentist has obviously NOT done that.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.