I’ve had dentures for close to 30 years and my smile has always been ugly. Now my mouth has shrunk and I can barely even keep them in. Is there a way I can get all of this fixed and get a pretty smile or is it too late for me?
What you are dealing with is a bit of a two-fold issue. Let’s start with why your denture won’t stay in and why your mouth seems shrunk. It is actually your jawbone that is shrunk. When your dentist removed your teeth, it signaled to your body that there were no more teeth roots to support. Our bodies are remarkably efficient. It then takes the minerals in your jawbone and resorbs them in order to use them in different places in your body where they would be more useful. While great for the rest of your body, it has the unfortunate effect of shrinking your jawbone. The result is pictured above. Not only does it make it impossible to keep your denture, which rests on the ridge of the jawbone, in place, but it also ages your appearance by a couple of decades. Something no one wants. This whole process is known as facial collapse.
The solution to this is to have bone grafting done. This will build up the missing bone. From there you will have two choices. First, you can just get dentures again. However, the whole cycle of facial collapse will start again. Your second option is to get implant supported dentures. This uses between four to eight dental implants and then your dentures will be anchored to them. It gives you complete security, improves your quality of life, and prevents facial collapse.
The second part of your issue was having a beautiful smile. That is possible whether you have dentures or dental implants. What it is dependent on, however, is the cosmetic skills and artistry of your dentist. So, my suggestion is to have some bone grafting done, find an excellent implant dentist, then make sure his or her quality of cosmetic work is up to snuff as well. You will then have a smile you can be proud of.
This blog is brought to you by Decatur, AL dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.