I have been using dentures for the last 15 years. I absolutely HATE them. Always have. When I first got them it was because I didn’t have enough money for the dental implants. I didn’t realize how much I wouldn’t like about them though. My dentist assured me I’d get used to them and that everyone reacts that way at first. Now my financial situation is different and I can afford dental implants if I want them. As I have given these 15 years, I feel like I’ve put in my time. Is it too late for me to get dental implants at this point?
As long as you are in good general health, it is usually never too late to get dental implants. That being said, the length of time you have been wearing dentures will have an impact on your bone structure and you may require one additional procedure before being able to proceed.
When your teeth were first removed, your body began to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to be as efficient as possible with your body’s resoures. This has the unfortunate side effect of slowly shrinking your jawbone. After ten to twenty years, you no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures. This is known as facial collapse. You think you hate them now? Just wait!
Unfortunately, that bone is an imperative part of a successful dental implant procedure. You need your bone to integrate with the implants in order to help them stay securely in your jaw. Without that osseointegration, it will lead to dental implant failure.
Getting Dental Implants with Missing Bone
The good news is we now have a procedure which will help repair that damage. Bone grafting will build back up that missing bone and enable you to have a secure bite again.
Once that is healed, you can then have dental implants placed. I recommend a minimum of four per arch to secure your dentures. Six is better. However, your budget will be a determining factor with that.
Make certain whatever dentist you see to do your implants does adequate diagnostics including 3-dimensional x-rays. Then, if they send you to an oral surgeon for the procedure, it is important it is the dentist who determines the placement of the implants, not the surgeon.
Best of luck. You will love having implant overdentures. The first thing you’ll notice (aside from the fact that your teeth do not come out anymore) is your chewing capacity goes up dramatically.
This blog is brought to you by Midtown Manhattan Dentist Dr. Marianna Farber.