Sadly, my teeth have always been terrible. In fact, I’ve had a dentures since I was in my thirties. Now that I’m 60 years old, I can’t even keep my denture in with the strongest adhesive I can find. I was told that my bony ridge is pretty much gone and that if things progress I will likely not even be able to keep a denture in at all. This sounds so scary. Do I have any options?
– Geno in Texas
What you have described is a really hard situation. What has happened gradually over the years is that your body didn’t think that the jawbone was needed anymore so it has resorbed the bone to use the minerals in other areas of the body. This is a debilitating condition called facial collapse. And the truth of the matter is that thirty years ago, it is likely you had no idea this was even a possibility for you at 60.
It sounds like you need bone grafting in order to build the healthy bone back up. But this is a very complex surgery so you need to make sure the dentist you work with is very advanced. In some cases, based on what you have described, there may be many dentists that won’t even attempt it. So the first step will be to find out if you are a bone grafting candidate.
If you are able to find the right dentist for the surgery, you have options when it comes to replacing your teeth. When you are missing all your teeth the treatment options can be very expensive, so what you select may come down to your budget and what kind of quality of life you want to deal with. The most economical option is a removable denture that is placed on the new jawbone. But remember, the same resorption of the bone will start over and in another 10-20 years you may end up in a similar circumstance.
Dental implants are the best practice for replacing missing teeth because they prevent bone resorption. The more implants you have, the more bone that will be retained. Implants can also be used to secure a denture. This treatment is called an overdenture. As little as two dental implants can be surgically implanted into the jaw to stabilize the denture, but the more implants the higher your comfort, stability, as well as prevention of facial collapse.
Thank you for sharing your story. As sad as it is, it will hopefully help someone that is considering their options to replace missing teeth. Especially, an individual that is younger could benefit greatly from your story. So thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.
Best of luck.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.