I am hoping you can help me. I’ve had dentures for about 17 years. They’ve served me well, but now I just can’t get them to stay in my mouth. I’m guessing they’ve stretched out over the years and I need a new one. Do I need to start the procedure over or can my dentist just copy the old records? I’m not even sure my old dentist is still in practice any longer.
Your denture is not falling out because it is stretched out. What you are dealing with is known in dental circles as facial collpase. When your teeth were first removed 17 years ago, your body recognized that you no longer had any teeth roots. In an effort to be as efficient with your body’s resources as possible it immediately begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere in your body where it perceives they will be more needed.
While very useful in supplying your body with the resources it needs, it has the unfortunate side effect of shrinking your jawbone. After a number of years, as you are discovering, there is no longer enough jawbone left to retain your dentures. I wish your dentist would have warned you about this before you got dentures because there is a way to have prevented this.
The good news is that there is a solution for your situation. The first thing you will need to do is to have bone grafting done. This will build up all the bone structure that you lost over the years. Then, after a period of healing, you then have a choice. First, you could just go ahead and get new removable dentures made. Just be aware that you will find yourself back in the same spot as your minerals again begin to be resorbed. A better option, if you can do it, is to get implant supported dentures.
With this procedure, you will have four to six dental implants placed in your jaw. After the bone has had time to integrate with the implant, then a denture can be build that will be anchored to the implants. These are known as implant overdentures. They will not only completely secure them, but will also prevent facial collapse.
One thing you will immediately notice is your quality of life going up. Even the best fitting dentures reduce your chewing capacity by 50%. Now, with implant supported dentures, you can eat whatever you want and never have to worry about them slipping or sliding again.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. James Williams.