I have had four pregnancies in a row where I vomited every day of the entire pregnancy. My teeth are a mess. They are literally crumbling. I can’t afford much dental work, as you can imagine with four children. They’re also the focus of any money I have for dental care. Because I am losing so many teeth I just want to get dentures. My dentist tells me my smile will be horrible with dentures. He wants me to get dental implants, but I’d have to sell my house to do that. There is absolutely no way I can do that. Am I condemned to an ugly smile for the rest of my life? Are there any in-between options?
You are in a tough situation. I can tell you are a good mother because you are willing to sacrifice anything for them. I wish dentists understood not everyone has the ideal budget for things and I can tell you are doing your best. The dentures themselves can be beautiful if the dentist who makes them is a skilled cosmetic dentist, so hopefully, your dentist wasn’t meaning the dentures themselves would be unattractive. My suspicion is he’s worried about facial collapse.
The Danger of Facial Collapse with Dentures
I don’t know your age, but I am assuming you are pretty young. When you remove your teeth, your body will recognize that and will interpret that as you no longer needing your jawbone to retain your teeth. Our bodies are remarkably efficient. As a result, it resorbs the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in your body where it perceives they will be more necessary. The unfortunate result of this is the shrinking of your jawbone. Eventually, you will lose so much of your jawbone that it becomes impossible to even keep in your dentures. This is known as facial collapse. I’ve placed a picture of this above so you can get an idea of what I mean.
The Compromise Solution
Having upper dentures isn’t as devastating as having lower dentures. I would recommend, in your case, getting dentures for your upper teeth and then, implant-supported dentures on the bottom teeth is a good solid middle ground. While ideally, you’d want between four and six dental implants to preserve as much of your jaw as possible, you can get as few as two and it will help.
The reason dental implants are so useful in this aspect is the implant serves as a prosthetic tooth root. This helps your brain to realize there will still be teeth there, albeit false teeth. Knowing that, your body leaves the jawbone intact.
Getting a Beautiful Smile Regardless of the Tooth Replacement
As mentioned earlier, you can have beautiful dentures made with the right dentist. I would look either for a dentist who is AACD accredited or one who is recommended on the mynewsmile.com website. These dentists have top cosmetic skills and will create a beautiful smile for you.
If you do decide to get some dental implants, be sure they have adequate post-doctoral training. Dr. Cha’s dental implant page will give you a good idea of what type of training they’d need to give you the best chance of a successful outcome.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.