I am a 60 year old woman who has a denture for about 35 years , I can hardly keep a denture in even with adheasive I am told i have virtually no ridge left and it could get bad enough that i can’t wear a denture at all. what can be done?
– Lucille in Ohio
You are in a very tough spot. What happens is that when your teeth are gone, your body thinks it doesn’t need that bone any more and begins to resorb it and use those minerals elsewhere in the body. It’s called facial collapse. Eventually, it does get to the point where you can’t even wear a denture.
At that point, what you need is bone grafting to build the bone back up. And you may need to hunt around to find a dentist who can do this. This type of surgery is complicated and difficult, and there are oral surgeons who won’t attempt it.
Beyond that, there are a number of options for getting replacement teeth, depending on how important this is to you and how much money you want to spend and how much treatment you want. The simplest thing would be to just have the same kind of removable dentures placed over the newly built up jawbone. The problem with that is that you will go back through the cycle of bone resorption again.
The placing of dental implants will prevent bone resorption around those implants. The more implants you have, the more bone you will retain. You could have just two dental implants in each jaw and have what are called overdentures or snap-on dentures over those. That works reasonably well. Or you could have dental implant hybrid restorations where the dentures are securely fastened to the implants, but that will cost a lot more. Another economical choice is mini implants.
And what I would hope is that others would learn a good lesson from your story. It would have helped if, when you were twenty-five years old and possibly were tempted to think that getting false teeth would be the end of your dental problems, if someone had explained to you the long-term consequences of getting all your teeth extracted. So let your children and all your friends know of your difficulty, if you can feel comfortable doing that. For those who have lost all their teeth but don’t yet have the bone resorption to the degree you have, placing dental implants can prevent these other problems down the road.
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