I’m 62 years old and I’ve been in dentures for over 20 years. Lately, I can’t keep them in very well. I went to see a dentist and he said I don’t have much ridge left on my jawbone. He feels certain soon enough I won’t even be able to wear the dentures at all. Is there anything I can do? I can’t imagine a life without any teeth even if they are fake.
What you are dealing with is known as facial collapse. This happens when you’ve been in dentures for a long period of time. When your teeth were removed, your body recognizes that. In an effort to be efficient with your body’s resources, it begins to absorb the minerals in your jawbone which are no longer needed to retain your teeth. This has the effect of slowly shrinking your jawbone. Eventually, as your dentist mentioned, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures.
The Solution to Facial Collapse
In order to solve this, the first thing you’ll need to do is have some bone grafting done to build back up the bone you have lost. After a period of healing, you will need to make a decision. You will need to replace the teeth again. You can get dentures again, but of course, it will eventually lead to the same issue.
The way to prevent it from happening again is to use implant overdentures this time. These will place four to six dental implants in your jaw and then anchor a new pair of dentures to them. The implants serve as prosthetic tooth roots, which your body interprets as you having teeth. It will then leave your jawbone intact.
All of these are advanced procedures, so you’ll need to find a dentist who has invested in a significant amount of post-doctoral training in dental implant training.
This blog is brought to you by Decatur, AL Dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.