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I have had an upper denture for close to 30 years. Can I have implants now? I have never had a pretty smile, and I would love to have a pretty smile.
Melissa from Alabama
Yes, you absolutely can have a pretty smile now, with dental implants instead of the old upper denture you have, even if you have been without upper teeth for thirty years.
Let me explain your solution in two parts, because it sounds like there are two parts to your problem. First, you say that you have had an upper denture for 30 years. Over that amount of time you are going to have a serious loss of bone in your upper jaw, and it is probably difficult to hold any kind of a denture in without denture adhesive, and even that may not work too well any more. That part of your problem requires dental implants to solve. I’ll explain what’s involved in that in a moment.
Second, you say that you don’t have a pretty smile. That part of your problem doesn’t really require dental implants–it just requires having an attractive denture made out of quality materials that won’t discolor or wear down easily. When you have dental implants placed, they will likely be placed to retain a denture–you’ll be getting an implant-retained denture. It will be different from a removable denture in that it won’t cover your palate at all, but it will still be a denture. To illustrate, I am posting two photographs of patients with implant-supported dentures from one of our mynewsmile dentists. You can see that while Tom, on the left, decided he wanted a more subdued color to his teeth, and Brenda, on the right, wanted bright white teeth, that both have attractive, natural-looking smiles. Their smiles will continue to look attractive for many years because they are made of quality, durable materials.
About getting dental implants, after wearing removable dentures for 30 years, you are going to have a significant degree of facial collapse. With facial collapse, you probably don’t have enough bone remaining in your upper jaw to be able to place stable dental implants. This can be solved with bone grafting. That’s a separate procedure that will require time to heal before the implants can be placed, and you will need an oral surgeon or an experienced implant dentist to do that for you.
How should you proceed? With any dental implants case, you want to start by visiting the general dentist. Never start by seeing the oral surgeon, as we have seen some sad cases where, in their eagerness to make sure they are the ones to place the implants, they go ahead and place them before you see the general dentist and they place them in the wrong spots. In your case, since a beautiful smile is important to you, you want to see an expert cosmetic dentist. There are several excellent cosmetic dentists in Alabama, so you should have no problem there.
– Dr. Hall
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.