I’ve had dentures for about 20 years. I’m in a financially different place now than I was when I first got the dentures. Is it possible for me to get dental implants instead after all of these years or did I wait too long?
Technically, you can get dental implants at any point as long as you are in good general health. I’m guessing you sense a “but” coming. If so, you’re right. BUT.. because of the length of time you’ve been in dentures, it is very likely you are already dealing with the onset of facial collapse.
Dentures and Facial Collapse
When your teeth were removed, your body recognized that and immediately began resorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere throughout your body, where it perceives they are more needed. The unfortunate effect of this is your jawbone slowly begins to shrink.
Usually, in about ten years or so, it begins to get difficult to keep your dentures in place. Gradually, you’ve lost so much jawbone your dentures won’t stay in at all. This is known as facial collapse.
Jawbone Structure and Dental Implants
Dental implants mimic your natural teeth. The implants themselves are prosthetic tooth roots. The false teeth that go on top of the implants replace the crowns (the visible part of your teeth). Just like your teeth need enough bone to keep the roots in place, so do your dental implants. If you’re suffering the effects of facial collapse, you won’t have enough bone to retain them.
Fortunately, there is a solution. You can have a bone grafting procedure done which will replace the missing bone. Once that is completed, you should be good to go with your dental implant procedure.
Generally, when you are talking about replacing all your teeth, you won’t get a single implant for each missing tooth. That would be too cost-prohibitive. Instead, you would get between four to six dental implants on an arch. Then, after a period of healing, your dentist will anchor brand new dentures to them.
Getting a Gorgeous Smile
This is a chance for you to get a stunning smile makeover at the same time. To do that, you’ll want to find a dentist with dental implant training who is also a skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist. Then, not only will you have a secure smile, but one you are proud to share.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.